THE STREETS OF BUCHAREST
Once called the “micul (small) Paris of the East,” Bucharest, Romania - member of the European Union - boasts another legacy from its communist past – one that they are more reluctant to discuss; Romania, and its capital city in particular, is home to an enormous and ever-increasing community of the homeless that live in the country's network of canals, built for heating, water and sewage pipes, and in abandoned buildings, slums, where the buildings offer only a minimum shelter against bad weather, being overcrowded and without hygienic and sanitary conditions. It's a world of its own, a world full of drugs, disease and poverty that's developed beneath the capital. Many have tuberculosis, hepatitis or are HIV positive. Of about 6000 homeless people living in Bucharest, an estimated 1000 are children. The poverty is assuming extreme dimensions, often inhumane. Many of these people are so marginalized do not even have an identity document and therefore can not vote.