Precariousness persists in occupied ships one year after the Gorg tragedy

  • Some of the survivors of the Badalona fire have met in the busy shed on the street of Antoni Bori, where fifty people survive a few meters from the burned factory, to remember the deceased

  • “We are still in the same situation; without papers and without a contract it is impossible for anyone to rent us a flat. A minimum solution is to adapt the warehouses to prevent a tragedy like that from happening again“, they point out

Five names in white letters on a black background: Fatou, Amadou, Boubacar, Thierno y Baye. The names of the five people who died in that same place just a year ago in the tragic fire in the Gorg ship, in Badalona, ​​on the night of December 9, 2020. In front of the wall that covers the site -of the burned factory It’s been a long time since only the painful memory remains- speak Mustapha, one of the survivors of the flames that shook Catalan society for a few days, not too many. “A year later, we are still practically the same. If they do not give us a work permit, we will never be able to leave the warehouses. It is impossible to rent a flat without papers and without a contract“, says the man, 37 years old and Gambian origin.

Mustapha survives ever since in another occupied ship a few meters from there, on the street Antoni Bori, along with a few dozen people. “It is very difficult to know exactly how many,” he says. Jaume Ventura, member of Badalona Acull and Justícia i Pau and one of the neighbors who has most embraced this group of men in the last year. Another group of people of sub-Saharan origin lives in the same conditions in another warehouse also occupied in the street of Progrés, on which there is an eviction order on January 13 after managing to postpone it last day 1.

“Something has changed,” he points out gratefully Mustapha. “Before the accident, many of us did not know that all these entities of Badalona who have been helping us ever since. We are very grateful to all of them, “he continues, putting his hand to his chest.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on this bleak December morning some of the survivors of the Gorg fire have met in a room of the ship Anthony Bori to pray for the memory of the deceased. A room in which there are sofas, mattresses, a bottle of butane and ‘sisís’ full of hanging clothes, and on whose wall there are red flames drawn and “SOS 9/12“, the date of the accident.

“The horizon is Africa”

Among those attending the prayer is the sculptor Ibrahima Sayidi, who in his day, almost a decade ago, was the spokesman for the settlement of the ship of Puigcerdà street, in Poblenou, evicted in July 2013. One of the largest settlements in Barcelona in which they calculated up to 300 people lived in conditions identical to those experienced by Sub-Saharan Africans who occupy the ships of Progrés and Antoni Bori, and how they lived in the Guifré street until that unfortunate night. “The situation repeats itself. That is why we started the project The horizon is Africa “, Explain Ibrahima fastened two of the wooden sculptures in the shape of a cayuco he has done to sell and raise funds for those affected. He made the first 150 a few months ago and they were all sold in the parishes of Badalona. Now he has made 250 more than he sells in the Badalonian Orpheus. “The ultimate goal of The horizon is Africa is to work there, in Senegal. Create opportunities there so that people don’t have to come here and go through all this, “sums up the sculptor.

Y The horizon is Africa It is not the only project born in the last year as a result of the tragedy of the Gorg, a neighborhood marked by contrasts, where the luxurious blocks of new construction -or under construction- coexist with the abandoned workshops that hide the harshest realities, which only come to light when misfortunes happen like the one a year ago, or as that of just a few weeks ago in a slum in an old bank office in the Plaza de Tetuan, in Barcelona, ​​in which four people from the same family also died. Seydou, another survivor of the fire, is one of the promoters of Burned Souls, a group born to try to claim their rights.

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“All we ask is that they treat us like people. Many of us have lived here for many years. We are from here. We only ask that you regularize our administrative situation so that we can have a chance. Sleeping in a ship is better than sleeping on the street, but nobody chooses to live in a ship, “he says. Seydou. Your partner Mustapha nods and claims “at least”, as do the essential actions in the ships to be safe spaces and that tragedies like that of now a year ago are not repeated. “As they prevent us from accessing a flat because they do not give us papersAt the very least, they put the ships in minimum security conditions, “he concludes.

After the accident, the Generalitat contributed a fund of money to Badalona City Council to pay pensions and shelters for those affected. Of the 89 people who accepted this solution, 40 were expelled from these temporary accommodations in July on the grounds that money was running out and that they should “prioritize situations of maximum vulnerability.” Many of these expelled were relocated in the aforementioned ships.

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