Helping the homeless of Rome combat COVID-19

Credit: Martina Martelloni / INTERSOSBy Elena L. PasquiniROME, Apr 9 2020 (IPS-Partners) Behind the Tiburtina Station, in the East of Rome, with just a small covered area protecting from the inclemency of the weather, sleeping close to each other is the only way to stay warm. A boy of Ivorian origin is alone, far from everyone, in the centre of the sidewalk, exposed to a freezing wind. ‘He told me he preferred to die of cold than to get infected, because he was very scared and he knew that it was not safe for him to be close to the others’, Dr. Antonella Torchiaro told Degrees of Latitude. She is a physician of the NGO Intersos, one of the few organisations carrying out prevention activity, medical examinations and screening of COVID-19 symptoms among those who do not have a secure roof over their head in the Italian capital. An estimated eight thousand people are homeless in Rome; between fourteen and sixteen thousand, if the figure includes those who call ‘home’ an inadequate housing or who live in such extreme exclusion that their living conditions are comparable to those who are homeless. About two hundred and fifty persons crowd the area of Tiburtina, where social distancing is hard, if not impossible, because the sheltered space is narrow. Among the most vulnerable population, there are also those who live in the squatted houses, mostly in the East of the city, and at the Termini station, in the centre. They are migrants and Italians fearing not...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Aid Health Humanitarian Emergencies Source Type: news

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