Inhabitants of the Vidigal shanty town in Rio de Janeiro are being moved out of their homes and offered accommodation in newly built houses.
Inhabitants of the Vidigal shanty town in Rio de Janeiro are being moved out of their homes and offered accommodation in newly built houses. The rehousing follows a government decision to develop the land on which the shanty town stands. Despite the offer of newer accommodation, many of the people were reluctant to move and remained at Vidigal until the demolition men started work.
SYNOPSIS: Vidigal is similar to many other shanties -- known locally as 'favelas' -- which have sprouted up around Rio de Janeiro in recent years. The total 'favelas' population of Rio is about a million and most of the people have come from rural areas seeking a new start in the city.
The government's plans to demolish the slum dwellings -- regarded as something of an eyesore -- and replace them with a housing complex designed by one of Brazil's leading architects, have been strongly criticised by the inhabitants of Vidigal. With the help of two local lawyers, they have managed to slow down the rate of forced evictions, and of the 17 families due to be moved daily, only two or three actually leave. Even they are most reluctant to move, having lived for several years in what is one of the best areas of the city -- near Ipanema beach.
So far the authorities have only managed to move 31 families. Most of them have been rehoused in the same place -- Antares housing estate -- near Santa Cruz. The estate consists of 2,000 small, purpose-built houses, and can accommodate 10,000 people in all. Despite the fact that the rent is very cheap -- a nominal four U.S. dollars a month -- many of the inhabitants are dissatisfied with their new homes. There have been complaints of poor lighting, cramped conditions and insufficient sanitary facilities. And for those with jobs in Rio, 80 kilometres (50 miles) away, there is a long expensive journey to work.