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Paris Housing Hell.

category international | housing | other press author Friday August 26, 2005 15:16author by iosaf Report this post to the editors

lessons to be learnt.

Last nights fire in Paris which killed 17 people most of whom were children is just one in a series of incidents which bring attention to the appaling conditions mostly african migrants are being housed in.

The group "DAL (droit au logement)" estimates 50,000 people in the "migrants, illegal migrants, asylum seekers, refugee" category are housed dangerously in the city.

Fourteen children and three adults died in the blaze, which broke out in the capital's 13th arrondisement or district in the south of the city shortly after midnight. Thirty were injured.

The building on rue Edmond-Flamand
, belonged to a charity and was built in the 19th century. Some 200 firefighters from 22 stations helped many of the 130 people in the seven-storey building to escape. But many wanted to jump from the windows in panic. The immigrants in the house came originally from Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Gambia.

The building was infested with rats and insects, and yet was described by the socialist mayor of the 13th arrondisement as "old but not unhealthy".

One of the surivors had this to say :-

"We were very badly housed, we had been waiting for new homes since 1991," he said.

French government Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy arrived at the scene of the fire in the early hours.

"We just saw the bodies of seven children who were asphyxiated. It's an abominable spectacle," he said.

One woman lost 4 of her 6 children.

He said he wanted a "census" of all the buildings that could be at risk of fire.

The cause of the blaze is unknown but a criminal investigation is under way.

It is the worst fire since an inferno at the one-star Paris Opera hotel in April killed 24 people, at least 10 of them children, and injured more than 50.

They too were mostly african, and action was promised to improve migrant slum accomodation afterwards.

french news reports:

the facts:-
interviews with DAL, and the charity which ran the house, and the government
interview with DAL on public responsibility.


Here is a report from Droit Au Logement
who campaign for better housing for the poor of France regardless of origin or ethnicity.
they estimate 50,000 in the worst slum conditions in Paris.

They are continuing the campaign for the future basic social rights of the 2,000,000 unemployed, 2,500,000 precarious workers and 6 million others living on social benefits to safe housing.

* free of vermin.
* with fire escapes.
* no oercrowding.

& they'll continue their campaign for basic health provisions, because the woeful conditions the poorest are being housed in is an active public health risk be it in Paris or Ireland.

author by iosafpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2005 23:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

around 400 people according to the police attended the concentration at the burnt shell on the corner of rue Edmond-Flamand and blvd Vincent Auriol to remember the dead 14 children and 3 adults and those of the "opera hotel fire" in April which killed 24 people.

This is only the start, Tomorrow a mobilisation has been called for 14h00 at the Place de la République which is in one of the arrondisements of Paris which counts a large and well established african community.
That mobilisation will count on many collectives attendance, and was originally called to mark the 9th anniversary of an attack by police on behalf of the state on migant workers who had occupied a church. the brutal repression of St Bernard has become a rallying point for all those french citizens and those beyond who seek a republic which holds dear its principles. None of the ministers of the interior since that night Pasqua, Debré, Chevènement, Vaillant, Sarkozy, Villepin, Sarkozy
have shown any sincerity in properly dealing with the base degradation of France's newest citizens.

There has been nothing but very british spin.

The "sans papiers" issue has never gone away,
the "100 days" which De Villepin asked for when he took over the government are almost up.
The French state has appeared to do more to play its part in the global charade of "fighting terror" by deporting some salafist clerics to north africa where their sermons will be most welcome, and rounding up some gypsies, than combatting poverty and unemployment. The figures for august fall far short seasonal adjustment allowed of any indication of "national recovery".
If tomorrow there was a vote again, the french would still say Non!

The poorest of the poor are the migrants who are housed in slums, who are employed in non regularised work, who are deprived in every sense of economic or cultural equality. & their children are so too are and will be deprived.

The package of assistance to social housing projects and the charities who are responsible for accomodating new citizens will not bring the children of rue Edmond-Flamand or Hotel opera back from ashes.

The solutions as ever as simple.
Listen to those who suffer.
Ask them what they need, what they want so that they can take their place in their new society, country and nation with all responsibilities and rights as equal citizens.

They say they want regularisation.
They say they want the right to housing and will work with those who are prepared to help them through direct action to occupy empty properties.
They say 14 years on a waiting list for a family room is too long to wait, the baby is now a teenager.
They say they clean the toilets of the well off, yet have to share washing facilities with other families at home.
They say their lives are a mixture of persecution and fear.
Persecution by racists, by the right wing, by the authorities, by the police.
Fear of racists, of xenophobes, of the police and of what might happen tonight.
They say they didn't really need to be told by minister Sarkosy that this disaster was due to overcrowding.
They say they didn¡t really need to be told by president Chirac that this calamity which touches the heart of France could have been averted.
They say they didn't really feel comforted by the RTE news and it could happen in ireland too.

They don't ask for much.

author by iosafpublication date Tue Aug 30, 2005 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the third building housing african immigrants has gone on fire, this time in the Marais in the third arrondisement in the centre of the city. killing 7 people from Ivory Coast were living there in deplorable conditions.

A child who jumped from a window died in hospital.

report in english

reports in french

Chirac as called for another inquiry and more action.

Related Link: http://paris.indymedia.org/article.php3?id_article=41394
author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Tue Aug 30, 2005 22:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is most distressing but it provides a learning opportunity for people involved in housing people particularly those who are vulnerable.

I thought I heard recently that there was a house fire in Ormond Quay in some of the apartment blocks there. I also thought I heard that the people rescued were mainly migrant workers and Chinese.

Thereafter I heard nothing. I ask why?

I have come across a situation of 10 people in an apartment block flat. I was shocked but even more so when I heard that there is no enforcement agency by the State to ensure properties are maintained to a certain standard and in line with Health and Safety.

I note on Morehampton Road that certain houses are extremely run down and yet there seem to be a lot of people living in them. There is strong possibility that they ought to be condemned.

Where is consience, morality, ethics, equity etc?

Michelle Clarke

author by zippublication date Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Senator David Norris has a letter published in today's Irish Times in which he says that there is a tragedy waiting to happen here along the lines of what happened in Paris. He brought up the issue of poor safety standards in hostel-type accommodation in Dublin no less than three times in the Seanad, but nobody wanted to know. He is bringing up the issue again when the Seanad resumes. If the Government doesn't act now, it can't claim that it wasn't warned of the consequences.

author by iosafpublication date Wed Aug 31, 2005 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the Senator is not the only member of Labour or the only member of the upper house who is concerned at the issues and trying to attract attention. The situation in Paris has now polarised, Chirac's first speech promising immediate action, could not really be topped when a few days later there was another fire. Africans in Paris and France are beginning to ask why are "the blacks treated like animals?".
We can't wait for similar deaths to happen here. Migrants are being housed throughout europe in appaling conditions. Conditions which societies such as Ireland think they have put behind them. Conditions which cause disease and desperation. Shameful conditions. & where migrants are housed, so too are the poorest Irish.
They need to "think together" & "campaign together"

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 14:21author address Reply to Zip and Isofar Letters: Poor Housing conditions and non accountability of Stateauthor phone Report this post to the editors


I had not known of Seantor David Noris and his interest though it does not surprise me. He has been a firm strength behind the preservation of Georgian Dublin and he himself chose to live in a most historic area.

We need to stand up and be counted to ensure a standard of housing that cannot be allowed to fall into 'slum' type accommodation again.

Yes, Isofar. I agree where are Labour on this matteer.

Gandhi quote:
'You have to live as if you are going to die tomorrow but learn as if you are going to live for the rest of our lives!!!

Where are the Libraries the funds of which were donated by Carnegie? .. yes, he was Irish and a famous immigrant. We need serious mentors to inspire people.

Michelle Clarke

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 20:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Senator Norris has raised this matter both in the Senate and in a letter to the Irish Times.

We have entered the Autumn season and young people are returning to rented accommodation in Dublin and other cities.

Today, while walking I found myself looking at houses on Haddington Road, and Rathmines. It is quite evident in a lot of cases, rooms house individuals and there can be many individuals in a house.

What regulations are imposed on Landlords to ensure Health and Safety rules apply?

We need to be alert to accommodation provided particularly where there are a number of units in one building.


Justice must be seen to be done!!!!

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