A tent town in the southern Italian region of Calabria that hosts migrants working in the orange harvest burned down on New Year’s Eve. The accident highlights the need for decent housing for migrant workers.
At around 3 a.m. on New Years Eve, a group of people were reported to have been inside one of the makeshift buildings used as a bar and meeting place in the tent town of San Ferdinando when a fire broke out. suddenly declared and immediately spread and destroyed other cabins nearby.
The tent city was built to house migrants involved in harvesting oranges in the plain of Gioia Tauro in Calabria.
Firefighters from the nearest fire station arrived quickly and extinguished the flames, preventing further damage that could have come from the nearby piles of flammable waste and gas cylinders, which were then secured. No one was injured in the accident, but a police investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.
Lack of housing for migrants
In a joint statement, two members of the Communist Refoundation – Party of the European Left (PRC-SE), the national secretary Maurizio Acerbo and the head of migration Stefano Galieni, described the fire as “shameful”.
“Yet another fire in the tent town of San Ferdinando, endangering the lives of over a thousand migrants,” they said. “By chance, this time there were no casualties, but the flames which destroyed tents and barracks remind us that in Italy decent and safe accommodation is not guaranteed for workers who have broken their backs in the fields.”
Acerbo and Galieni stated that in the regions of Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia as well as more generally in rural areas where the harvest is carried out by underpaid workers working illegally, it is not intended to guarantee the right housing for migrant agricultural workers.
“He is […] unacceptable that the many ghettos existing in these regions are evacuated at the end of the harvest seasons. Those who do such hard work must be guaranteed decent housing, a living wage and an employment contract. This should be done by the regions and the national government, ”the statement concluded.