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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 38 No. 22. September 11, 1975



If the resettlement areas are bad, the transit areas are worse. They were originally intended to provide temporary accommodation after squatters were evicted from their old homes and before they could be rehoused. The maximum waiting period of three years has long since become a farce, however, and most families are there to stay. These people pay us rent, but they are given no assistance except a tiny piece of land on which to live. They have to find their own building materials fittings and interior decorations, even though few seem to have received compensation for their original eviction. Nor has the state ever provided any general plumbing and electricity - open drains are the norm and in the absence of basic hygene facilities the places we visited were unbelievably clean.

Conditions seemed even more crowded than in the resettlement areas, if such a thing is posssible. A narrow alleyway with an open sewer running down the middle separated two rows of houses. Well, not really houses, unless tiny single rooms constructed out of wood, corrugated iron, packing cases, wire netting and rags can be classified as such.

We visited one woman with four young children' She was making buckles on a sewing machine lent by a local factory. Belongings were stacked everywhere and, in the midst of the squalor, a television set sat in all its glory. The warped values of the capitalist economic system are glaringly obvious in the city - too poor to afford the essentials of life such as adequate housing, people have nothing to spend their meagre wages on except ostentatious luxury consumer goods.

In another room we found a husband and wife with their seven children. Both were unemployed, the woman pregnant again