Miguel Martín Alonso I Níjar (Almería), (EFE).- Hundreds of people resided in the shanty town of ‘El Walili’ in Níjar (Almería), mainly immigrants who work on nearby farms, who now face the day after their eviction with hope but with a fundamental problem, the difficulty to get to their jobs.
In the Emergency and Referral Reception Center (CAED) in the Nijares neighborhood of Los Grillos are part of the inhabitants of the town demolished this Monday by the City Council and, although they come from very different countries in Africa, the history that links them to ‘El Walili’ begins with a boat trip.
This is the case of Mohammed, a young man whom EFE surprises talking on the phone with his mother on a CAED staircase. He reveals that he arrived in this country a little over a year ago in one of those boats and ended up in this settlement because it was the closest place to work in a tomato greenhouse.
A better house, but no job
«I lived alone in a shack because here they did not rent me a house, a room. Is the problem. He lived there because there is no rent, ”says this young man in an incipient Spanish.
«Here (in the CAED) I am better. There are beds, food, I am better off here than on the street”, he affirms, although he insists: “In ‘El Walili’ I worked a lot, there is no work here”.
Hamal is another Maghrebi who spoke with EFE during the eviction of the town, which he made his home about seven years ago. “Here there are people who have lived for 15 or 20 years (…) They are sending people to a ship (…) They have no heart, people have not been able to collect their things,” he said this Monday.
A day later, he prefers not to speak to the camera, but he agrees almost point by point with what Mohammed said. The facilities are better and they have everything, except the possibility of being able to move to the farms where they usually did their work.
Attention in the CAED
Nor is it easy to find CAED users. In the first place, because there are only about 60 people there, since other residents of ‘El Walili’ move to other settlements or stay with friends and family, precisely so as not to get away from their work environment.
Others have found a way to go to their usual post and leave it at nine in the morning to return late in the afternoon. And of those who remain in the CAED, the majority refuses to speak to the media: “I’m ashamed”, “I can’t”, “no, thank you”, are the answers they express with some suspicion.
Although it is a difficult image to assume in places without this type of shanty town, many of these day laborers are picked up by vehicles at meeting points such as roundabouts or certain stops. If they are not there, the detour to Los Grillos to be able to count on them is not a viable alternative, they say.
At CAED they are cared for by non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross, the Cepaim Foundation, Almería Acoge, the Mercedarian Sisters or Doctors of the World.
A management problem
Precisely, the president of this last group in Andalusia, Carmen Domínguez, is in the place and affirms to EFE that the initiative of the City Council to eradicate this type of town to transfer its inhabitants to “decent housing” has been “good”, but he adds that “the problem has been management”, which must be “polished”.
«It has left a lot to be desired, the details have to be refined because in the end the day-to-day life of people has not been fully resolved. The main problem right now is the transport to the greenhouses. They don’t have transportation, which is why some of them have lost their jobs,” says Domínguez.
He appreciates that the eviction occurred without “any incident”, but recalls that “in ‘El Walili’ there lived around 450 people” and here are about 60″. “Many people have chosen to go to other places, and if they have friends, relatives or acquaintances, they have preferred to stay with them,” he adds.
He explains that those who have attended the CAED are cared for “in the best possible way” in spaces equipped with bunk beds and bathrooms, and they are offered breakfast, lunch and dinner. “They will be here for about two months (…) until the construction of the houses is finished (…) which will already be a definitive accommodation,” he concludes. EFE