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Olympic angst in Rio favela

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Olympic angst in Rio favela

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During the Olympics opening ceremony, Brazil paid tribute to its favelas. At least 25% of the the population live in shanty towns.But not many are seeing the benefits of hosting the Games.

In Vila Uniao, hundreds of families were moved to make way for the Transolimpica BRT bus route which shuttles visitors and media to and from venues in Rio.

Maria do Socorro (45), who lives in the favela says that the Olympic building works just added to the list of worsening living conditions.

“We used to live calmly, now we are constantly tense, nobody can sleep, there are lots of killings, shootings, things we didn’t see before, and now with these building works going on things are very tense.”

The mayor defends the bus route as a crucial infrastructure project. However, critics argue it is an inefficient transport method which runs to the wealthier Barra neighbourhood.

Do Socorro and other residents blame the construction for the crumbling buildings. They are demanding help from the city to repair their homes and improve sanitation, but fear they will be forgotten.

“I think that after the Olympics, (the authorities) might just give us a little bit of attention, tricking us, because of the elections coming up, but after that I think they will abandon us,” another resident Janaina Assis said. “So many favelas in Rio are abandoned, I think they are just sweeping the rubbish under the rug.”

Talk of an Olympic legacy in the favelas is met with anger, as the Games which are costing nearly 11 billion euros have done little to improve the lives of Rio’s poorest residents.

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