23 Dec 2013 16:00
Lunik IX is an apartment complex in the southwestern suburbs of Košice, Slovakia. Originally build as home for middle-class families with a capacity of 2,500 people, the Slovakian government started to resettled thousands of Slovakian people affiliated to the Roma minority in the 1990s. Today Lunik IX is home to an estimated number of between 6,000 and 8,000 Roma making it the largest Roma community within Slovakia.
Over the years Lunik IX evolved into an urban slum. The unemployment rate is nearly 100%, inhabitants aren’t able to pay their water, gas or electricity bills. The waste disposal isn’t working, inhabitants constantly throw their trash right out of the window.
Several buildings are in an unacceptable condition and at risk to collapse. Between my last two visits one complex has been demolished for ‘security reasons’. The toxic standard of the waste disposal has reached a dangerous high level even starting to harm the town’s ground water. Only during certain hours a day people are supplied with freshwater.
The children from Lunik IX are the first who suffer from these horrible conditions and they should be the last to blame for their situation. Lunik IX is overcrowded, more and more flats become uninhabitable, winters are long and cold. Open fires inside the flats, rat plagues, diseases, malnutrition and worse hygiene standards are among the fatal threats threatening the children in Lunik IX.