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A tragedy revealed a worrying fact about half of the houses in the GBA


A week ago, the roof of a house in Esteban Echeverría collapsed and four girls died. According to a study, 54% of homes have a housing deficit.

Part of the roof collapsed and four children died inside a house in El Jagüel, in Esteban Echeverría a week ago.

This tragedy exposed a well-known but not so widespread situation: the

housing crisis

that affects the entire country but, due to population concentration,

has a very strong impact in

Greater Buenos Aires

, where more than half of the homes have

some kind of housing deficit


This last data is provided by María Mercedes Di Virgilio, PhD in Social Sciences, CONICET main researcher in urban studies and the Gino Germani Research Institute (UBA).

54% of GBA households suffer from some type of housing deficit

, that is, 2,215,720 households”, concludes Di Virgilio.

These figures were calculated for “Housing in crisis and the housing crisis: housing needs and public policies in Greater Buenos Aires”, a work of which she is co-author, based on the

National Population and Housing Census


Although the available data is from 2010, Di Virgilio maintains that

"it is very likely that the situation has not improved"


One of the indicators that he takes into account is that

popular neighborhoods increased

in Argentina between 2018 and 2022, according to last year's survey of the National Registry of Popular Neighborhoods (ReNaBaP).

The other is the economic situation that makes people have

more or less capacity to face repairs

in their homes.

The four little brothers who died in the collapse on Sunday.

Of that 54% of homes with problems,


they suffer from a qualitative deficit: in other words, their houses require

improvements or extensions


“In most cases, these improvements are linked to the

quality of basic service facilities such as electricity, sewers or water


They may also require works to solve

humidity or ventilation problems

”, details the researcher, who assures that they are “issues that directly impact the quality of life”.

Meanwhile, having access to certain services, such as water or electricity,

does not guarantee that these services are effective and safe


“On numerous occasions, households have access to the service but in deficient conditions, either because the provision is insecure (they hang from the light, puncture water pipes, or the water they access is not drinkable) or because they are insufficient (they are cut the water or electricity, there is water only a few hours of the day) ”, he specifies.

And he warns: "The poor conditions of the facilities

explain many of the domestic accidents and respiratory or digestive diseases


The house in El Jagüel had serious problems like 54% of the homes in the suburbs.

Photo: Luciano Thieberger

"On the other hand, the other 26% of households 

require a new home

to meet their needs," he adds. And he points out that although in most cases this is related to overcrowding and living with close households, sometimes "it arises from living in houses that

cannot be improved

due to the low quality of the construction materials or

structural construction problems, 

which explains why, for example, the roof collapses."

Meanwhile, he explains that there are regulations that regulate construction processes, but that they

only apply to formal housing.

 "The self-production of housing, in general, is not covered by these regulations because it occurs in informal contexts or situations, either in neighborhoods of informal origin or from processes of subdivision of lots or pre-existing homes," he adds.

For Francisco Ferrario, General Director of Regions at TECHO-Argentina, "the housing deficit in Argentina is

a structural problem, which demands a comprehensive approach by the State

, in order to reach emergency situations as soon as possible and work, at the same time , in the long term”.

“It is important to remember that when we talk about an emergency, we are talking about families that live on

dirt floors

, with extremely precarious materials, for which

each rain is a flood


Millions of people are exposed to environmental risks and risks caused by poor connection conditions to services”, he highlights.

From the air.

An image of Villa Azul, one of the settlements in the south of the GBA.

Photo: Rafael Mario Quinteros / File

According to the latest update of the ReNaBaP, shared by TECHO-Argentina, there are at least

5,687 popular neighborhoods in the country

, in which more than 5 million people live.


Buenos Aires Province

, they are

more than 1,900 the towns and settlements

in which


are more than 570,000 families living in a housing emergency situation


“These are families that live without access to adequate housing: they do not have enough space, and they do not have formal and safe access to basic services.

This generates a direct impact on the quality of life of people, generating a state of

high social, economic and environmental vulnerability

”, they highlight from the NGO that works to improve habitat and housing conditions.

María Cristina Cravino, urban anthropologist and CONICET researcher, says that "although the suburbs are not the area with the worst conditions (since the situation is more complex in the north of the country), the housing problem is concentrated in that area because

there live a third of Argentines "


It also highlights that the Buenos Aires suburbs are 

marked by inequalities

: “It depends a lot on the commune, its institutional capacities and resources.

There are municipalities with

almost 40 times less budget per inhabitant compared to City 

to attend to urban conditions.

Asphalt issues, lighting, sewers ”, he highlights.

He says that there are legal instruments that aim to provide solutions in this regard, such as the Provincial Law on Fair Access to Habitat (No. 14,449) enacted in 2012, which aims to improve access to land and housing, although he clarifies that its implementation also

It depends on each commune


Regarding the qualitative deficit, he assures that the State is not very prepared to provide this type of solution.

“It usually provides

standardized answers

when these situations require a

personalized intervention


There was an experience between 2005 and 2015 with a program called ´Mejor vivir´”, he comments and assures that it is key that all home improvement projects include

“technical and social support”.

This is also what Di Virgilio refers to: "Tools must be generated that aim to correct this deficit, such as

offering microcredits to fix houses

, although it is essential that they include

technical advice"


"Giving a subsidy without accompaniment does not seem to be enough, it is key that behind these efforts there

are people trained to assess the housing situation and define priorities

for decision-making," he closes.

The tragedy of Esteban Echeverría

On Sunday, January 8, after 10 pm, part of the roof of the house in Talcahuano at 1100, in the town of El Jagüel, in Esteban Echeverría, collapsed.

As a result of the collapse, the four children of Pamela Sabrina Nisi (37) died: Benicio and Noah (twins aged 4), Lorenzo (6) and Santino (10).

The house was old and very precarious.

Hours before the tragedy, Catalino Daniel Lopez (51), a partner of the children's mother and owner of the property, had left some rubble on the roof that was found in the patio area.

The weight of these materials

would have precipitated the collapse of the roof


At first, the homeowner was arrested but finally the judge ordered his release.

Now they will define if they request the demolition of the house due to the risk that it could imply for the neighbors or if there is the possibility of repairing the house.


look also

Landslide in Esteban Echeverría: they released the owner of the house and define what will happen to the place

A family from Córdoba saved their lives in a fire by jumping into a canvas pool from the first floor

Source: clarin

All life articles on 2023-01-16

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