The Mayor of the Italian capital has demanded special powers to rehouse Roma families after four children were killed in a fire at an illegal camp.
Police say three brothers and their sister, aged between four and 11, died when the blaze destroyed their wooden shack on the outskirts of Rome. It is the second such fatal fire in the city in five months.
Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno said: “Tomorrow I will ask for special powers to start our plan for the Roma community immediately. We have three areas that have been identified and we are ready to shut down all the illegal camps. We need to build legal and safe camps.”
The mayor said it was taking too much time to get the necessary permits to move the travellers to safe sites.
But the centre-left leader of Rome’s 9th district, Susi Fantino, said: “This could have been avoided, particularly because the conditions there had already been highlighted by local authorities, the police and the people.”
The fire is thought to have been sparked while adult family members were fetching food and water.
There are around 150,000 Roma people living in Italy. In Rome province alone there are said to be 100 camps.