#IStayCamp. Health Conditions, Food Deprivation and Solidarity Problems in the First Days of Lockdown in the Roma Villages of Rome
As soon as the lookdown was declared by the Prime Minister, Associazione 21 luglio conducted a research to monitor the condition of Roma communities living in housing emergency in Rome.
Association 21 luglio carried out an investigation within the institutional Roma settlements in Rome, to understand how the COVID-19 emergency and the strict rules imposed by the Government to prevent the virus contagion, could impact on the Roma living in camps. Noteworthy results are that there are no health workers in the camps for the distribution of material or to provide information about Covid-19; families cannot go out to work and don’t have money to buy food; the suspension of school activities and the impossibility of using technological tools essential to follow distance education puts minors of school age in a state of serious isolation in relation to their peers and teachers. To face these health conditions of over 6000 people living in housing emergency in the camps in Rome, Associazione 21 luglio launched an appeal to the Mayor and the Prefect of Rome to map the conditions of greater fragility inside the formal and informal settlements with the main aim of guaranteeing the distribution of basic necessities, adequate hygienic-sanitary conditions and ensuring access to drinking water.
First lines of the research: On March 9, 2020, “in order to counteract and contain the spread of the Covid 19 virus,” Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree implementing a complete lockdown aimed at “avoiding any movement of individuals.” The government also recommended that stringent hygiene and sanitary measures be taken throughout the country. Associazione 21 Luglio (“July 21 Association”), began an applied research project aimed at understanding the impact of these measures in formal settlements in Rome, which are inhabited by families that generally define themselves—and are identified by the local authorities—as belonging to varied Roma communities.
This research revealed how such settlements struggle with public health concerns and access to food, among other deprivations, and underscores the need for emergency interventions. Those results allowed us to elaborate a strategy to contain the negative effects generated by the lockdown.
In our opinion, this resource can be used to inspire other association to use our methodology. Indeed, the research was the first step to implement a food aid program focused on the fight against food deprivation for children 0 to 3 years old living in poor Roma settlements.