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Jakarta Post

Tanoto Foundation hands out COVID-19 aid to disabled people

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, May 18, 2020   /   04:40 pm
Tanoto Foundation hands out COVID-19 aid to disabled people Tanoto Foundation communications director Haviez Gautama (right) hands out staple food packages to The Jakarta Post chief editor Nezar Patria (center) as The Jakarta Post Foundation chairman Bambang Trisno Sejati looks on at the Post's office in Jakarta on Monday. The donation will be distributed to people with disabilities who are impacted by COVID-19 pandemic in Greater Jakarta. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Tanoto Foundation has donated food packages to support people with disabilities in Greater Jakarta, as they are commonly among the people most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The charity organization, founded in 1981 by one of the country’s wealthiest men, Sukanto Tanoto, handed the packages to the chief editor of The Jakarta Post, Nezar Patria, on Monday.

The Post’s philanthropic arm, The Jakarta Post Foundation, would distribute the food to people with disabilities in Tangerang, Banten and Bekasi in West Java. 

“We understand that people with disabilities are among those who are bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Some rely on jobs that require them to have direct interaction with their customers, such as massage therapists and barbers. They have definitely lost income as they could not do their jobs owing to the social distancing policy during the PSBB,” Tanoto Foundation communications director Haviez Gautama said, referring to the government’s large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).

“In our view, they are in dire need of a helping hand,” Haviez said. 

So far, at least 20 regencies, municipalities and provinces have imposed the mobility restrictions since their inception in Jakarta on April 10.

Last month, the foundation donated millions of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to support medical workers handling patients with COVID-19 in response to a shortage of such gear.

Read also: Tanoto Foundation donates protective gear for health workers

The Post's chief editor lauded the donation, saying it came at a time when the government and local administrations had also been providing aid in the form of cash and staple food. 

“The donation is important to fill gaps in the distribution of social aid amid reports of some problems,” Nezar said. 

The Post reported early last week that some citizens who have lost their jobs could not access government aid, while others were receiving double.

Meanwhile, The Jakarta Post Foundation chairman Bambang Trisno Sejati said part of the donation would be distributed to disabled people living at the leper colony near the Sitanala Hospital in Neglasari, Tangerang, Banten. The hospital used to solely treat leprosy, as its outpatients chose to settle in the area since the 1980s rather than return to their hometowns, either for the sake of treatment or to avoid discrimination.

Another part of the donation would be handed to people with disabilities in Bekasi, West Java.

“Apparently, people with disabilities need extra support from the government and community during this pandemic, as we don’t know when it will end,” Bambang asserted. 

In a statement released on May 6 in support of a UN study on people with disabilities, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on governments around the world to specifically take into account the billions of people with disabilities in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read also: Public donations for COVID-19 task force in Indonesia top Rp 66.5b

"Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access education, health care and income opportunities or participate in the community," Guterres said. "The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities -- and producing new threats," he said. 

On Sunday, the Health Ministry announced 59 more COVID-19 deaths, the highest one-day figure in over a month following weeks of relatively low official numbers of daily deaths. The previous highest daily increase in COVID-19 deaths was recorded on April 14, with 60 deaths. 

The number of COVID-19 positive cases rose by 489 to 17,514. The number of recoveries increased by 218 cases to 4,129 patients, while deaths jumped by 59 cases to 1,148, according to the ministry’s disease control and prevention director general, Achmad Yurianto. (dmr)