The coronavirus, as feared, has also arrived among the laborers of the ghettos of Rosarno and San Ferdinando. Twenty-one positives in the container field of the Testa dell’acqua di Rosarno district, declared a red zone three days ago, until 20 October, by the president of the Calabria Region, Jole Santelli, one of the last measures signed before the sudden death.
The settlement built after the immigrant uprising in January 2010, against the exploitation and violence of the ‘Ndrangheta, was supposed to be temporary, but it is still there, forgotten by everyone, in the industrial area of Rosarno. The 22 containers for some years were managed by an association but then totally abandoned by the municipality, the region and national institutions. Between 80 and 120 people live there, the number is not certain, in complete self-management. For this reason it is not known exactly how many there are. Outside piles of rubbish that are taken away from time to time, clothes hanging, bicycles.
Covid-19 appeared here last week. First one case at the beginning of the month, then three on 10 October, finally after the swab, all 21 appeared, all asymptomatic. The positives were separated and housed in four tents set up near the camp. Nothing better was found. The others remain in the containers, in quarantine, discreetly enforced by the men of the police forces deployed by the Prefecture of Reggio Calabria. Alongside the positives and the others, in addition to the ASL, the world of voluntary work has taken to the field, Red Cross, Emergency which for years has had a clinic in Polistena not far from Rosarno, the parish priest Don Roberto Meduri has always been close to immigrant laborers, so like Bartolo Mercuri, ‘dad Africa’, president of the association ‘Il Cenacolo’ of Maropati. The situation seems calm.
Even if it is the umpteenth demonstration of the persistent and guilty non-management of the reception of immigrant laborers who every year arrive in Rosarno and in the other towns of the Piana di Gioia Tauro for the citrus harvest. For now, few have arrived and therefore the emergency is manageable, but when will 2-3 thousand arrive? This is why there is concern about the situation of another ghetto, the San Ferdinando tent city, built to house part of the immigrants who lived in the shanty town that was cleared and demolished in March 2019. The tent city, planned for 400 people, was also meant to be temporary. but so far nothing has been achieved to overcome it.
The mayor of San Ferdinando, Andrea Tripodi, has announced the imminent dismantling in recent months. The collaboration between the municipality, the prefecture, Caritas of the diocese of Oppido-Palmi and the CGIL of the Piana di Gioia Tauro, has put in place a project to find houses for rent. But it is still too little. In the tent city that has come to accommodate 800 people, today 270 live. In recent days, two positives were found, also asymptomatic. So it was decided to swab everyone. But two days ago only 30 agreed to do it. There is the fear of being stuck in the tent city, as is already the case in the container field. “But we have to go to work, that’s why we are here,” they explain. Also because the harvest season begins right now, in which it is easier to work. Exploited, as often happens, but it is still an income.
So there were moments of tension but we didn’t insist. In the coming days, however, we will try to make it clear that it is a question of protecting their health. Also because surely the positives will be more than two. And there is another concern. That the news of the infected immigrants provokes reactions among the local population, let us shout at the greaser. There have been many tensions in the past and there are already those who are blowing on the fire of intolerance.