Rome evictions creating health emergency

Charity says evictions leading to illness and creation of shantytowns in Rome.

Rome's continuing policy of evicting people from illegally-occupied buildings, without offering them alternative accommodation, is creating a "health emergency" particularly among children, according to Medicina Solidale Onlus, a charity which provides health and social assistance to families living on the streets.

The voluntary association estimates that recent evictions have increased the number of homeless on Rome's streets "by 1,000 people", raising the number of makeshift camps in the capital to around 300. These shantytowns - it says -  are inhabited by Italians, migrants, and members of the Roma community.

Medicina Solidale president Lucia Ercoli, a doctor specialising in infectious diseases, told daily Italian newspaper La Repubblica that children living in the camps are presenting with "problems relating to malnutrition and hypothermia, respiratory or skin diseases."

Ercoli, whose charity receives funding from the Vatican, said that in the last week Medicina Solidale has treated "at least 80 adults and more than 20 children with bronchitis or pneumonia problems."

The alarm raised by Medicina Solidale follows recent calls by Rome charities for greater action from the city amid a mounting death toll of homeless people dying from the cold this winter.
Photo Radio Colonna