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Loneliness on the rise in Flanders

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

92% of majors in Flemish municipalities said that loneliness has increased in the past year of coronavirus-related lockdown measures, according to a survey conducted by Radio 2 among all municipalities in Flanders.

One in ten of those mayors said they’d considered quitting the job.

They were asked about how the global pandemic has affected their populations, and loneliness was a strong theme among all of their responses.

Many municipalities took steps to try to fight loneliness in the last year, in which most people – but especially the elderly – were socially isolated from loved ones.

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There were campaigns in which older residents were checked in on with a phone call. A quarter of all municipalities organised sidewalk visits, where people could socialise outdoors while keeping a metre and a half apart in accordance with social distancing measures.

The survey also found that in 85.6% of municipalities, coronavirus had a negative impact on the budget.

A quarter of Flemish municipalities had to postpone major planned investments, mostly road works and city beautification efforts.

But as the vaccination rollout struggles along, many municipalities are looking towards the future with hope: half of them want to throw a party as soon as it’s considered safe and allowed.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times

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