Dozens of evicted migrants are either sleeping at friends or roughing it on street corners and roundabouts a week after authorities held a dawn raid on complex of stables-turned shanty town accommodation.
“I don’t know why this happened to us. We just wanted a place to sleep and eat. Now we have nothing. The Maltese don’t want to rent to us, so we have to live like this… like animals,” one of the evicted migrants, who asked not to be named, said on Monday.
He is one of dozens to end up homeless after the authorities held a raid on a complex of Marsa stables that had been transformed into illegal dwellings by landlords in an ever-increasing black market sector.
Sources at the Planning Authority said they had received reports about stables being rented out as accommodation to migrants in the area around three weeks ago.
An inspection by the PA’s enforcement officials earlier this month had confirmed the reports and the police were brought in to help evict the migrants and clear out the stables.
Many of the migrants had outstayed their three-month window in Malta after having travelled to the island from Italy on a temporary pass.
Times of Malta is informed that most of the foreigners are in the process of being returned to Italy.
Meanwhile, life for the evicted migrants has been a tough wake-up call.
In Malta I just want to work, and live a safe life
“It is not fair at all. I have had a very sh** life you know, in Burkina Faso and then I went to Libya, to live in camps, they beat us and take all our money. In Malta I just want to work, and live a safe life,” another migrant, who has been living with friends since the eviction, said.
Marsa migrants who spoke to Times of Malta said a number of other irregular dwellings were rented out to their friends in the dock area.
Tenants of these dwellings, often converted garages or store rooms, were charged around €100-a-month in rent, with landlords often renting out units, no larger than a two-car garage, to as many as four migrants at a go.
Feelings of dejection and frustration were palpable in one of the garages near the Marsa stables, with migrants asking why Maltese would not rent out apartments to them.
“No one wants to let us rent their house or apartment, because we are immigrants, so what do we do now? Sleep on the street? In some public square... somewhere?” one said.
Human rights NGO director Neil Falzon has said he was not surprised to read the news that yet another group of migrants had been found living in “squalor”.
Dr Falzon, a human rights lawyer, also said it was disturbing that some were seeking to profit off the misfortune of those who had nowhere else to turn.
Human rights campaigner Maria Pisani said the migrants evicted would have no chance of finding a spot in the already over-populated open centres and added that she was not surprised to hear they would end up sleeping on the street.