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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:40, September 01, 2005
French president calls for more public housing after fires
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French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday called for renovation of run-down apartment buildings and for more public houses after two fires in four days in Paris.

"Faced with this situation, we must act," French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope quoted Chirac as saying.

"What's urgent is to ensure the safety of people living in precarious housing," said the president.

French Housing Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said that funding for new housing for those evicted was not a problem.

"Money is not an issue in this affair," he told France-Info radio. "We just have organization problems, problems with speed. This takes time and it's complex."

Three fires occured this year in French capital, leaving a total of 48 dead, mostly African immigrants.

In April, 24 people died in a fire at a budget hotel that housed African immigrants near Paris' Opera.

Last Friday, a blaze that ripped through an apartment building in southwestern Paris killed 17 African immigrants, including 14 children. In that blaze, officials ruled out an electrical short circuit.

The latest fire on Monday in Paris' historic Marais district killed seven Africans, including four children. It started on the second floor of a building housing between 40 and 60 Ivorians, and half of them are illegal immigrants, French police said.

Source: Xinhua

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