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1 May 2020

Harriet Grant, The Guardian

Spain: migrant agricultural workers at risk as they continue to work during Covid-19 lockdown without adequate protection, food or running water

“‘No food, water, masks or gloves’: migrant farm workers in Spain at crisis point”, 01 May 2020

Migrant workers on Spanish farms … are trapped in dire conditions under lockdown, living in cardboard and plastic shelters without food or running water.

“… [They were] told to stay put, even though in some places running water is several kilometres away … a water truck comes twice a week. If you are at work and miss it you must walk several kilometres for water ….”

The workers fear they are unprotected against the virus, both in the unhygienic settlements and when working side-by-side on the farms.

… Philip Alston, the UN Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, visited Spain …

“I visited areas I suspect many Spaniards would not recognise as a part of their country,” Alston said. “In Huelva, I met with workers living in a migrant settlement in conditions that rival the worst I have seen anywhere in the world … In 2018-19 the strawberry crop in Huelva was worth €533 million euros.

Spain will lift the lockdown in the coming weeks but activists say the situation is still dangerous for vulnerable workers, with lack of water and workplace protection putting workers at ongoing risk of further Covid-19 outbreaks.