Social Issues

Hundreds of Venezuelans left to live in crumbling homes

By Génesis Carrero Soto

Caracas, Jul 5 (EFE).- Creaky walls, loose floors, humidity and crumbling roofs have become the norm for hundreds of Venezuelans living in shanty towns that have been declared high risk but whose inhabitants have been neglected by the government.

According to president Nicolás Maduro, last week the state delivered on its pledge to provide 4.1 million housing units as part of its flagship Housing Mission to move people living in high risk homes into new properties.

But those living in the crumbling houses say they have been waiting for years for the government to provide them with a new home and allow them to live in peace.

Irene Castillo has been waiting for five years for a new house after part of her building in a shanty town in the state of Miranda collapsed. Since then she has been living in the parking lot, the only part of the building that is still standing.

“To be left with nothing overnight is not easy, (…) it has already been five years that we have been waiting for the government to do something, so what are they waiting for,” the mother of two says.

According to a survey on living conditions in Venezuela (Encovi) carried out by the Universidad Católica Andres Bello, 13.4% of Venezuelan households were considered “inadequate” in 2021.

“At first, they declared us a risk zone and sent some families to be evicted, but they all stayed and are still waiting,” Andrés Aparicio, whose house in the west of Caracas was declared at risk six years ago, tells Efe.

“People come, they take notes and do reports, they promise things and then they leave. So far everything has stayed the same,” he adds.

In Andrés’ area, the problem has become so severe that in addition to houses collapsing, cars have stopped driving on the streets due to the danger of further weakening of the roads.

Maria del Carmen Hernández says her house in Maracaibo has “thrombosis” because half of it is tilted and a huge crack runs through it.

Maria and another 160 families living in the town, which has been under construction for 35 years and was declared at risk over 10 years ago, were ordered to leave by the Civil Protection authorities, but they have nowhere else to go.

“I live with my heart in my mouth, this has been going on for more than 10 years, but now it has gotten worse, it has cracked more, pieces are falling,” she says. EFE


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