Monday, January 17

The service that cared for the family that died in the Barcelona fire cries out against the lack of resources

The workers of the social service of the Barcelona City Council who cared for the family who died this Tuesday in the fire of the bank branch where they were living in the Plaza Tetuán, in the heart of the Catalan capital, have cried out against the lack of resources and the immigration law that “leads to poor living in slums” to many families faced with the difficulties of obtaining a residence permit and, with it, social assistance.

A couple and their two children, aged three and one, died on Tuesday when the abandoned bank office they occupied caught fire. The tragedy has once again revealed the precarious existence that grips the most vulnerable due to the lack of shelter and papers, just one year after the fire that killed two men in a warehouse in Badalona.

The couple had been residing in Spain for more than a decade but without obtaining a residence and work permit, so they had to earn a living collecting scrap metal or, sometimes, begging at the door of the occupied premises. Despite being a slum, the family kept the old bank office in the best possible conditions.

In a harsh statement, the workers of the Servei d’Intervenció Social de Famílies amb Menors (SISFAM), the service of 12 social workers of the City Council that cares for minors living in precarious settlements or warehouses, have expressed their “consternation and sadness” at the tragedy that has ended the life of the family they cared for.

The SISFAM had provided them with food and medical care, as well as schooling the eldest son who died in a neighborhood school and processed his register without a fixed address, an essential requirement to access social benefits.

The workers have stated that the majority of families in a similar situation to the deceased cannot access the “few” housing alternatives offered by the administration or the labor market due to lack of a NIE, that is, due to difficulties in regularizing their situation administrative, which pushes them to “poorly live in slums.”

“It is flagrant that nothing is done to prevent children from having to live in these conditions of poverty, risk and social exclusion,” the workers have added, in addition to recalling that there are more families with minors in the same situation of substandard housing – 481 people, of which 156 are minors, according to the data provided this Tuesday by the council.

The professionals also wanted to convey their condolences to the families of the deceased, a 40-year-old man of Pakistani origin, his partner who arrived in Barcelona from Rome, and their two young children, both born in the Catalan capital, who had been two years old. in that office precariously converted into a home. The Mossos d’Esquadra continue to investigate the causes of the fire and keep all hypotheses open

The place was included in the report on ships and occupied spaces that the Mossos d’Esquadra prepared as a result of the fire that in December 2020 caused two deaths and 19 injuries in an industrial warehouse in Badalona where migrants of African origin lived.