Italian Interior Ministry on Wednesday said almost 1,000 people were due to be cleared from an infamous shanty town in southern Italy, in a large-scale police operation.
The San Ferdinando camp, mostly houses migrants employed illegally as farm workers, in a business often controlled by the local ‘Ndrangheta mafia.
The Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, said 600 police had been deployed to evict “about 900’’ residents, to be moved to other facilities.
The camp was later due to being razed.
According to an RAI public radio journalist on the spot, the operation started peacefully, even though many migrants fear they may be transferred too far away from their workplaces.
Doctors for Human Rights (Medu), a charity that operates in San Ferdinando, on Tuesday said residents of the camp had been warned they would be moved out.
They were, however, not told where to.
Over the years, there have been repeated attempts to clear the facility.
A new eviction order was issued last week, in the wake of the third death in 14 months from a fire at the camp.
Migrants routinely light fires to keep warm, however, the flames can get out of control, spreading quickly among makeshift shacks made of cardboard, wood and plastic.
San Ferdinando is in Calabria, the region that forms the tip of Italy’s boot.
Its residents have no access to electricity, running water or sewer facilities. (dpa/NAN)