Two adults, two kids, one square metre each: trapped in a shoebox under lockdown

A nationwide lockdown intended to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic has turned ordinary hardship into a living…

A nationwide lockdown intended to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic has turned ordinary hardship into a living nightmare for French families living in cramped and overcrowded dwellings, with experts warning that homelessness and inadequate housing will only worsen the health crisis.

Ramata’s weary voice is barely audible, drowned out by the surrounding clamour as her children’s cries bounce off the mildewed walls of their tiny abode.

With France under a nationwide lockdown, the mother of two has been ordered to stay at home – except she doesn’t have one. Her “home”, so to speak, is an 8-square-metre hotel room in the Seine-et-Marne department, east of Paris, which she shares with her partner, their two children and a legion of cockroaches.

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