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Laurence, pediatrician for the NGO La Chaîne de l'Espoir and Justine, health mediator for Première Urgence Internationale conduct their humanitarian support program in slums in the Parisian suburb: L’Haÿ-les-Roses and in Vitry, Val- de-Marne. They provide psychological support to children, raise awareness on how the virus spreads, and give advice on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many migrants, often coming from Eastern Europe, are cut off from the official information supplied by the French Government about the pandemic, meaning they do not take precautionary measures. Masks and gloves are not worn because the loss of mobility and lack of means related to confinement. Access to potable water does not exist, and sanitary conditions are minimal.

Première Urgence Internationale distributes the essentials needed to stay as safe as possible during the outbreak as well as provides the necessary items to improve hygiene conditions, and thus improve public health.

These people, vulnerable in many ways, have been subjected to systematic violence and discrimination throughout Europe. With the advent of COVID-19 in Paris many migrants left their homes, sometimes little more than tin shacks, in France’s slums behind. Local authorities said these sites posed an unacceptable risk to health and safety, ultimately leading to the partial destruction of slums throughout the city and leaving the migrant population even more vulnerable.

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George Nickels

George Nickels is a freelance photojournalist and has been working throughout South East Asia and Europe since 2011. The primary focus of his work is covering social conflict and humanitarian issues with his work published in the leading newspapers, magazines and media outlets worldwide.





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