Mosa, 26, stood in the filthy stable that he used to call home and packed his things into a plastic bin bag. He had no idea where he would be spending the night.
“It is hard to get a house in Malta, that is why I lived here. If you want to try and find a house you need a lot of money. And even if you have a job, most people do not want to rent to an immigrant. When you are an immigrant it is very difficult to find a place to stay,” he said.
Mosa is one of dozens of migrants who ended up homeless on Wednesday after authorities held a dawn raid on a complex of Marsa stables that had been transformed into a shanty town of illegal dwellings.
Sources at the Planning Authority said they had received a report about stables being rented out as accommodation in the area around three weeks ago. PA enforcement officials inspected the area a few days ago, confirmed the reports and roped in police to help evict the migrants and clear out the stables.
"I don’t know what I can do now. Maybe my friend can give me a place for a day, but then I don’t know, I just don’t know,” Mosa’s neighbour in the stable complex, Esli, told Times of Malta.
Migrants throughout the maze of stables were clearing out their belongings on Wednesday afternoon, having returned home after a day of work to find that the lock on their gates had been broken by the police.
No one wants to let us rent their house or apartment, because we are immigrants, so what do we do now?
Feelings of dejection and frustration were running high throughout the complex, with migrants asking what they had done to deserve to be made homeless.
Confusion about raid
Shamim, 28, said he could not understand why the raid had been called in the first place.
“What did we do to the Maltese? Nothing. We were living here, not bothering anyone, just working and living, you know? And now we don’t have anywhere to go. 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 pjazza somewhere? It is not fair,” he said.
Human rights NGO director Neil Falzon 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.
“They are profiting by racist exploitation that ‘houses’ structures intended for animals. Malta’s economic boom lives off the exploitation of migrants and returns close to nothing to its labourers,” he said.
The raids conducted also did nothing, Dr Falzon said, to address the serious obstacles that some migrants faced on a daily basis.
Primarily, it was time the authorities ensured that migrants had suitable housing alternatives.
“We are extremely worried about the fate of the persons evicted this morning. Where will they sleep tonight? Do the authorities even care?” he said.
Human rights campaigner Maria Pisani said the migrants evicted would have no chance of finding a spot in already over-populated open centres.
“They will be on their own to find a place to live,” she said.