The old headquarters of the Federal Police in São Paulo burned down and collapsed early on Tuesday. By the time of this publication, 44 people have not yet been located, and at least one is believed to be dead. At this point, however, no fatalities have been confirmed by authorities.
The building, which belongs to the federal government, was squatted in by at least 146 families (or 372 people), in an occupation led by the social movement LMD (Luta por Moradia Digna, or “Struggle for Decent Housing”). According to the city’s Fire Department, the building was already subject to prior inspections and reports had confirmed its degrading housing conditions.
The building collapse exposes an ugly side of Brazil’s wealthiest city: its appalling inequality levels. In Sé and Mooca alone, the two districts of São Paulo’s impoverished city center, there are 2,334 hovels registered by the mayor’s office. According to the latest report by the city’s Social Housing Information System, 445,112 homes are located in slums, and 385,080 are officially considered irregular constructions.