The San Ferdinando migrant tent city in Calabria, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Alessandro Sgherri
The San Ferdinando migrant tent city in Calabria, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Alessandro Sgherri

Seasonal migrant farmworkers in the San Ferdinando tent city in Calabria have been 'left to their own devices, without power or water,' according to two Italian unions. They called on local authorities to ensure security and humane living conditions at the camp.

The situation risks becoming explosive in the San Ferdinando tent city, the trade unions CISL of Reggio Calabria and USB warned in a statement on Wednesday.

"Left to its own devices, without power or water, the tent city is no man's land, in which even the state does not have a presence, " the local branch of CISL said.

The tent city houses farmhands who come to the Piana di Gioia Tauro area of Italy's southern region Calabria to harvest citrus fruits.

Attack on firefighters

The union described the tent city as a "ghetto without rules and without safety, hygiene, or liveable conditions."

CISL said that there had been reports of an attack on Tuesday by some of those hosted in the tent city against a position of the firefighters, in which a vehicle was damaged but luckily no one was injured.

"With dignity and abnegation, only firefighters remain, who for the safety of migrants continue their service, working close to them with a high risk to their personal safety," CISL said.

The other union -- USB -- said that it had asked for an urgent meeting with the prefect's office of Reggio Calabria to find a solution and to ensure migrant workers' concerns were not overlooked by the authorities.

No security or hygiene

They said that "not even basic hygiene is possible [at the tent city even though] the pandemic is not over yet" and that "the post of the security forces is no longer in the square in front of the camp."

"In addition to the darkness [in the camp at night] and the enormous quantity of rubbish that has not been collected both inside and outside the tent city, there are also other problems that make the life of Piana farmhands unliveable," UCB said. "Arrivals continue ...of people who, between the autumn and the winter, are engaged in work in the citrus sector. Without these workers, the sector would have major problems, as we saw during the second wave of the pandemic last year."


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