“S is 31 years old. He arrived in Italy a little over a month ago, having made an exhausting journey on foot from Pakistan to Milan, via the Balkan route. To make the journey even harder, one of his feet was horribly broken and went untreated.
Precisely one month ago, on the night of 26 January, a fire destroyed the makeshift camp for migrants in San Ferdinando, indicative of the social collapse that has taken place in the valley of Gioia Tauro.
The shacks that burned have been replaced by ash and mud. Those that remain, of which there are around 200, are built with pieces of wood, corrugated iron, and plastic sheeting, in what was supposed, 8 years ago, to be a ‘temporary’ solution developed after violent clashes in the town of Rosarno.
And yet, even now, 2000 people continue to live amidst the ‘skeletons’ of shacks, the remains of burned bicycles and the noxious substances created during the fire. Without toilets, water or electricity, surviving in inhumane conditions.
“Those who did not find accommodation in the facilities provided by the Civil Protection Department after the fire – which were insufficient to accommodate everyone affected – sought makeshift shelter in abandoned warehouses in the area. These temporary fixes are not a true solution, there is an obligation to implement active policies of hospitality and integration. The segregation that is fuelled by these types of emergency solutions must be abolished”, explains Alessia Mancuso, Coordinator of the Polistena Outpatient Centre.
In San Ferdinando, this ongoing emergency has lasted too long.