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Danger Escalates in São Paulo Buildings Invaded by Squatters

05/03/2018 - 12h47

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FABRÍCIO LOBEL
JAIRO MARQUES
FROM SÃO PAULO

The address at Carmo street, next to Sé square, in downtown São Paulo, where Wanderson Bispo, 19, lives is the skeleton of a privately-owned building - also with 24 floors - which stands halfway between its construction and its ruin. If it had been finished, it would be a garage building today.

This is only one of the 70 buildings invaded which will be inspected by a task force - the measure was announced by Mayor Bruno Covas (PSDB) after the building in Largo do Paissandu occupied by homeless people fell.

Governor Márcio França (PSB) said the building that collapsed was "the chronicle of a tragedy foretold."

The building's deteriorating situation had already been denounced by neighbors - and confirmed by the fire department's inspection report. Even so, the building was neither interdicted nor cleared.

Fábio Vieira/Fotorua/Folhapress
Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed
Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed

Most of the properties invaded by squatters are managed by one of the dozens of organizations that represent the homeless. The most famous included the FLM (Frente de Luta por Moradia - Front to Fight for Housing), the MTST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem-Teto - Movement of the Homeless Workers) and the UMM (União dos Movimentos de Moradia – Union of Housing Movements).

Some charge rent or contribution fees, as they are more commonly called. The prices vary from one place to another, as do the quality of the maintenance and the provision of security items.

Professor Paulo Helene, of USP's Escola Politécnica, a specialist in construction pathology, says that the risks that residents in old buildings are facing are huge.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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