Emergency in Croatia - Challenges for deafblind people

Zagreb, Croatia,
26 March 2020

On Sunday 22 March there was an earthquake in Zagreb which caused heavy damage to the city.

All deafblind (db) people and European Deafblind Union (EDbU) workers in Zagreb are safe at the moment, though most with extensive damage in their homes. Working is particularly hard due to contradictory commands: Stay home to avoid the spread of COVID-19, but stay outside in case of tremors and aftershocks. There have since been 6 strong aftershocks and over 60 weaker ones.

The EDbU is overwhelmed throughout this crisis, however it has put the following in place:

  • All their workers have been given computers to work from home
  • All db are given instructions on what and how to do in this situation
  • All db interpreters are given protection aids
  • A network has been created of db who can hear to call other hearing db everyday
  • They are working on different self-help db groups
  • They have contacted Red Cross to go to db homes
  • They have their own Deafblind interpreting centre for db needs: food, drugs, etc
  • They are maintaining part of their project activities such as with education (hey have online education through two Universities and are trying to establish new education tools)

The deafblind are fully neglected by national authorities and were left out of the official announcements -they mentioned deaf, blind or other disabilities, but no mention of deafblind. If you have ideas on how to help deafblind persons further, please share your experiences with the European Deafblind Union.

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