Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina's River Plate stadium opens to homeless

Homeless people look through bags of donated clothes at River Plate stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 3 July 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption People were able to sift through bags of donated clothes in the stadium

The Argentine football club River Plate opened its stadium to homeless people in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, as the city experiences a cold snap.

Volunteer group Red Solidaria is behind the project, and has also been distributing donations of warm clothes.

Across the country, five deaths have been linked to the cold weather, according to local media.

There are concerns about rising numbers of people sleeping on the streets in Argentina due to an economic recession.

The Associated Press has reported that official figures show the number of people in extreme poverty in the capital - the country's wealthiest area - has doubled in the past three years to 6.5%, which equates to about 198,000 people.

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Media captionHomeless people were able to eat and sleep at the Monumental Stadium

Volunteer Martin Giovio told Reuters news agency: "It's clear to us that the street is not a place to live. The cold kills and so does our indifference. This is an enormous gesture from River [Plate]."

River Plate - nicknamed The Millionaires - is one of the country's biggest clubs. It agreed to open the Monumental Stadium as a shelter for just one night, but the head of Red Solidaria, Juan Carr, said they had not ruled out an extension. He also told Página 12 newspaper that his organisation would continue to look for other locations to offer similar services.

The National Meteorological Service said Buenos Aires was experiencing the coldest temperatures of the year, falling to about 2C (36F) on Wednesday night.

A 52-year-old man, Sergio Zacaríaz, was found dead in Buenos Aires last week after a night sleeping on the streets.

Image copyright Reuters

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