“Nobody cares about us. I just want a job and a place to live. I want a quiet life,“ says Issa, his voice cracking, tears streaming down his face. He is from Ghana, and he is standing before the charred remains of what used to be his “house.”
“It’s not possible. They’re treating us like animals,” Mamadou, another migrant, repeats angrily. “This should not have happened. And the institutions are ignoring us,” he mutters. Ash covers the ground, and the air is filled with an acrid smell. “We could have all died,” whispers a young Senegalese man, 20 years old.
Around 2 a.m. Saturday, a fire broke out in the ghetto in San Ferdinando, in Italy’s Gioia Tauro plain. Perhaps it was a brazier with lit coals, left open during the night against the cold, which gave rise to the inferno that in the space of a few hours consumed more than half of the shantytown. It is not the first time that flames have engulfed the huts built from plastic and wood, but this time they also killed a 26-year-old Nigerian girl. Her name was Becky Moses, and she had arrived here only a month ago after leaving a SPRAR Project refugee facility in Riace.
“We’ll try to give her a proper burial,” said the mayor of the village next to the Tyrrhenian sea, Mimmo Lucano, present at the scene together with two of Becky’s young friends.