Disabled people not heard in Ukraine

Ukraine’s cities are completing preparations for Euro 2012. Yet virtually all places have problems with disabled access.

Yaroslav Hrybalski from the National Association of People with Disabilities told Deutsche Welle that they monitored the situation at certain stages of construction of Euro 2012 buildings etc, and put forward their position and their comments about plans. Yet, he says, not one building in Lviv has been fully adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. Their suggestions were hardly excessive, concerning mainly ramps to get to main entrances; the marking and sizes of stops at the airport; toilets with disabled access; signposting for the blind, as well as standards for seating in the arena.


There are problems with absolutely all places and buildings where disabled access needs to be considered.


Mr Hrybalski expresses their frustration that so much money has been spent yet they couldn’t consider access for the disabled. He says that they view buildings, make proposals, and get told “sorry, we can’t think about you”.  He understands that they can’t since it’s all being done in a hurry to a deadline, yet who’s going to re-do them later?


One example is the reconstruction of the Lviv Railway Station. People with disabilities put forward their comments, yet the design was changed several times and their suggestions were not once taken on board.  As a result, it’s hard for people in wheelchairs to move on the cobblestones, and there’s no telecommunication access for people with hearing or sight difficulties.  Yaroslav Hrybalski adds that the station still only has one ramp and one lift to one train platform while to the others there’s no access.

The situation is similar at the airport and stadium and all suggestions have been ignored. In renovating the central part of the city, the historical area, the city authorities have also not considered access.  There are no special tracks for wheelchairs as, for example, in Kraków. They use inconvenient cobblestones or paving slabs.


There are also problems with hotel buildings. However, Mr Hrybalski says that private outfits are different and if they want to, they can rectify the omissions quickly.


He warns that fans visiting Ukraine may be in for a shock since throughout the EU at least there are proper standards for disabled access.

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