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Cars become new home for Spain's COVID-19 pandemic casualties

The pandemic has been particularly hard on Spain's economy due to its reliance on tourism and the service sector. The country’s left-wing government has maintained a furlough program to reduce the impact, but over a million jobs have been wiped out. Many had no option but to live in their car for close to a year.

March 23, 2021 / 08:30 PM IST
The pandemic has been particularly hard on Spain's economy due to its reliance on tourism and the service sector. The country’s left-wing government has maintained a furlough program to reduce the impact, but over a million jobs have been wiped out. Many had no option but to live in their car for close to a year. (Image: AP)
The pandemic has been particularly hard on Spain's economy due to its reliance on tourism and the service sector. The country’s left-wing government has maintained a furlough program to reduce the impact, but over a million jobs have been wiped out. Many had no option but to live in their car for close to a year. (Image: AP)
While close-knit families have sustained many citizens who otherwise might have ended up destitute, confining people at home also has strained Spanish family life, as seen in a spike in divorce rates. The breakdown of households has left more individuals on their own. (Image: AP)
While close-knit families have sustained many citizens who otherwise might have ended up destitute, confining people at home also has strained Spanish family life, as seen in a spike in divorce rates. The breakdown of households has left more individuals on their own. (Image: AP)
Catholic aid organization Cáritas Española said earlier this month that around a half-million more people, or 26 percent of all its aid recipients, have reached out for help since the start of the pandemic. Cáritas opened up 13 centers dedicated to assisting the homeless since the pandemic began. (Image: AP)
Catholic aid organization Cáritas Española said earlier this month that around a half-million more people, or 26 percent of all its aid recipients, have reached out for help since the start of the pandemic. Cáritas opened up 13 centers dedicated to assisting the homeless since the pandemic began. (Image: AP)
When the social worker called to tell Javier Irure that he was being evicted, the 65-year-old Spaniard couldn't fathom that he could end up homeless after five decades of manual labor. Irure belongs to the multitude of economic victims of the coronavirus pandemic. He managed to avoid getting COVID-19, but the labor slowdown caused by restrictions on movement and social activities the Spanish government imposed to control the spread of the virus proved lethal to his financial stability. (Image: AP)
When the social worker called to tell Javier Irure that he was being evicted, the 65-year-old Spaniard couldn't fathom that he could end up homeless after five decades of manual labor. Irure belongs to the multitude of economic victims of the coronavirus pandemic. He managed to avoid getting COVID-19, but the labor slowdown caused by restrictions on movement and social activities the Spanish government imposed to control the spread of the virus proved lethal to his financial stability. (Image: AP)
Like Irure, Juan Jiménez had no option but to live in his car, a second-hand Ford where he has slept for close to a year. (Image: AP)
Like Irure, Juan Jiménez had no option but to live in his car, a second-hand Ford where he has slept for close to a year. (Image: AP)
Jiménez, 60, saw his mortgage payments spiral out of control and his marriage crumble after he and his wife bought a bigger house. The 620 euros ($740) he received in government aid in recent months went to his seven children, he said. (Image: AP)
Jiménez, 60, saw his mortgage payments spiral out of control and his marriage crumble after he and his wife bought a bigger house. The 620 euros ($740) he received in government aid in recent months went to his seven children, he said. (Image: AP)
Jiménez and Irure move their cars from one parking spot to another on the outskirts of the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, where they once had homes. They do so to avoid drawing attention to themselves. (Image: AP)
Jiménez and Irure move their cars from one parking spot to another on the outskirts of the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, where they once had homes. They do so to avoid drawing attention to themselves. (Image: AP)
“We are invisible beings. Nobody wants to look at us. Nobody wants to know anything about us," Jiménez said from his car. "We do not exist.” (Image: AP)
“We are invisible beings. Nobody wants to look at us. Nobody wants to know anything about us," Jiménez said from his car. "We do not exist.” (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Mar 23, 2021 08:30 pm

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