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'Hundreds' of homeless dying in the streets of France

AFP

At least 453 homeless people died on the streets of France in 2013, according to a group that campaigns for the homeless in France.

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"Did their lives have to end like that?" asked the charity "Les Morts de la Rue" (The Dead in the Streets) in a statement accompanying its estimates of deaths. It also announced a remembrance ceremony in Paris on March 18.

The previous year’s report, the first of its kind by the group, recorded 439 deaths in 2012. But, the group emphasises, the list is not comprehensive. It says its data is cobbled together from, charities, emergency services, social workers, police, hospitals, town halls and funeral homes.

The average age that homeless individuals died is around 50, whereas the average life expectancy in France is 81.5 years.

Difficult to identify

Many of the dead have proved impossible to identify and are identified simply as “a man" or "a woman".

Where some facts are known, they are briefly summarised. “Paco ‘the Fakir’, aged approximately 60, died on September 21 after 30 years living on the streets on the French Riviera." "Fernand L., 79, died September 20 near the bench where he lived in a town in central France."

On a railway platform, in a bus shelter, under a bridge, in the subway, the majority died in public places. Joel , 57, died on a street in the city of Toulon; Cyrille, 40, on a walkway in Paris; Maurice, 60, in a park in Brittany; and Stéphane, 44, in a park in Paris.

Some had found makeshift shelters, such as Waldermar, 39, who died in a squat in Lille; or Joseph who was found in a cellar in Paris; Patrice, 50, dead in a tent on the Cote d’Azur; or Philippe, known as “Fifi”, in the car where he lived in Paris.

The 2012 report calculated that 91.8 per cent of the fatalities were men.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

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