Slum in Corrientes Province. Photo via Diario El LItoral.

The infrastructure of shantytowns (villas) throughout the country hasn’t improved, even a bit, between 2013 and 2016. The most precarious ones are in the provinces of Río Negro, Corrientes and Neuquén, as well as the city of Rosario in the province of Santa Fe. The least vulnerable ones, in contrast, are in Buenos Aires City. These are some of the conclusions ONG Techo reached, according to a study published by the organization this week.

To reach them, the NGO analyzed the conditions of more than 2,000 shantytowns in eleven different provinces throughout the country. It then proceeded to build an index – called Territorial Vulnerability Index – to determine how vulnerable they are, dividing them in four scales: critical, high, medium-high and medium.

To determine this, they took into account the following variables: access to basic services, proximity to areas that could compromise its population’s health (for example high voltage grids or scrap heaps), how much did floods impact on its infrastructure and population, access to local police, firefighters or medical emergencies services. They also took into account the amount of education and medical centers, if the streets are paved and if there are public means of transport.

According to this index, five out of ten settlements are vulnerable, meaning that people don’t have access to medical or other basic services, the area floods easily.

The NGO conducted the same survey three years ago, but the results were the same, meaning that during this period there have been no significant improvements in any of the index’s eleven variables. “This shows a clear lack of public policy dedicated to this matter,” Virgilio Gregorini, Techo’s executive director, told press. He went on to argue that the problems that affect these neighborhoods can be solved, but for this to happen there have to be laws and legislative projects that demand these changes.

The NGO also identified the three most precarious shantytowns in the country, at least according to their study: Los Provincianos (Berisso, Buenos Aires Province), Lapacho III (Tartagal, Salta Province) and La Lagunita (Rosario, Santa Fé Province). Surveyers told press that even though there have been public works conducted in many of these areas, they are not enough to improve the results at a national level.