[WATCH] Update 2 | Authorities clamp down on farm housing 120 migrants in poor conditions

The Planning Authority and the police found around 120 migrants living on a farm in Qormi • Migrants paid €100 a month to live in the cow sheds

Between 118 and 120 migrants are believed to have lived in the farm.
Between 118 and 120 migrants are believed to have lived in the farm.
A PA officer speaking to the man (red t-shirt) who rented out the cow farm beds to migrants
A PA officer speaking to the man (red t-shirt) who rented out the cow farm beds to migrants
Over 100 migrants were found living in a cow farm in Qormi.

Authorities have clamped down on a farm in Qormi that was housing around 120 migrants in poor conditions.

In an operation this morning, the Planning Authority accompanied by the police moved in on the abuse. The migrants were found living in inhumane conditions. 

A migrant told MaltaToday that he was paying €100 a month to stay on the farm.
A migrant told MaltaToday that he was paying €100 a month to stay on the farm.

Planning officers found dormitories inside the abandoned cow farm, housing some 120 migrants.

Charles Gafa, a PA enforcement officer said that the authority had been surveilling the area for weeks before it moved in, on the bases that the change of use was not sanctioned by a planning permit.

PA officers sealing off the makeshift dormitories for which migrants paid €100 per month
PA officers sealing off the makeshift dormitories for which migrants paid €100 per month

Gafa said the living conditions were appalling. “The various sheds were crammed with beds or split up into small rooms, conditions that no person would like to live in,” Gafa said.

PA officials sealed off the premises and action will be taken over planning infringements. The man described as the occupier of the farm was also present.

The living conditions inside the farm
The living conditions inside the farm

The migrants appear to have arrived in Malta from Italy and are here legally. Migrants with a residence permit can travel between EU countries for three months at a stretch. The police allowed them to leave and find alternative accommodation.

One of the residents on the farm walking away with his belongings and a fan
One of the residents on the farm walking away with his belongings and a fan

Migrants walked out of the farm, which is situated a mere 100 metres away from the Mrieħel bypass, carrying their personal belongings. The dirt path leading to the farm was strewn with waste, signalling human activity in the area.

A migrant who spoke to MaltaToday said that he was paying €100 a month to stay at the place. “I’ve been here two months and now I have to find somewhere else. I don’t have friends here.”

Shower and lavatory facilities in farm were health hazard, PA says 

In a statement, the Planning Authority said that the farm in Sqaq Awżara limits of Qormi was turned into makeshift residences to cater for foreign workers seeking cheap accommodation facilities on the Island.

The Authority found that all the rooms had no basic facilities or privacy and were significantly overcrowded. The shower and lavatory facilities were a health hazard for those making use of them. 

The PA’s officers will monitor the site to ensure that the use of the farm remains according to its permitted use.

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