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Silences of Chernobyl
Silences of Chernobyl
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Erik Messori

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Children of the streets

Children of the streets
Children of the streets

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Children of the streets
Description: Angola To live without war

Lobito, behind its old-fashioned decor, offers a pretty sad contrast: the now shabby rich colonial
villas by the sea, strongly contrast with the paradas, of the downtown decayed squats. According to the provincial authorities, these temporary refuges (abandoned toilets, car shells, containers, etc), shelter 450 children, of which 18 girls, left to themselves. In all, over 2500 minors survive from begging and small jobs, prostitution, most often for girls ? on the coastline of Benguela-Lobito. Some come from families dispersed during the war, others victims of domestic violence, who chose to run away from their families and seek refuge on the streets.

The place, baptised As tendas (the tents in portuguese), consists of a group of eight deteriorated military tents, where 120 teenagers live confined, and is officially recognized by the city authorities. A great step, but clearly insufficient, considering the needs in terms of health and hygiene, the children suffer from various pathologies such as malaria, scabies, skin diseases, breathing infections, tuberculosis. For the prevention of sexually transmissible infections. Sanitary conditions: two deep holes near a stretch of polluted sea are used as drinkabe water for washing. A crucial aspect of medical follow-up, as those small migrants often sail by boat to Luanda to seek work.

Life gets organised around the tents that Okutiuka grabbed from the Administration. The site baptised parada dos fobados (?starving squats?), is run with authority by Jesus, 17 years old, the well-named. To avoid being excluded, no more filthy rags of chupilingua, this addiction to fuel , should be found laying around. The teenagers respect the rules: up at dawn, washing up, then cleaning the place before school. Tonight, to an air of rap, they show off their arms bearing scars made with used blades. Anxiously eyeing all this, Jesus scrutinizes the horizon: a mackerel has moved her hovel to just 100 metres from here, as though to spy upon this small fragile world. Just like a deadly sword of Damocles.

Text: Guillaume Plassais Journalist
Keywords: lehr-, st?phane, Angola, children, streets, humanitarian, Africa, topicality, interactive, visit, photographs, documentary, discovered, photo-report, hunger, malnutrition, journalist, journalism, AIDS, neuro-graph
Date: 08.01.2006 00:05
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Downloads: 0
Rating: 3.08 (13 Vote(s))
File size: 154.4 KB
Added by: Stephane Lehr

Date created: 23.03.2005
Byline: © Stephane Lehr
Byline title: Stephane Lehr Photojournalist
City: Lobito
Country: Angola
Copyright Notice: © Stephane Lehr
Caption: 23/03/2005 Lobito, Angola. Young street child poses on an old mattress he uses as his bed, in one of the numerous squats in Lobito.
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