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12,000 people living in Las Vegas storm tunnels

The Toronto Globe and Mail has issued a series of images by Mona Shield Payne which capture the lives of homeless people in Las Vegas who are currently residing in the storm tunnels beneath the city.

A moving editorial follows the story of married couple Richard Ethridge and Cynthia Goodwin, a married couple who are living in the sewers, regardless of the constant threat that rain above-ground will generate a rush of water through the tunnels, destroying their possessions and bedding.

The article by Omar el Akkad reads: “As a result, many of its estimated 12,000 homeless people have built makeshift shelters in the city’s 480 kilometres of underground storm tunnels. The result is a subtropolis where the poorest and most maligned can escape the desert heat and cold, even as they risk disease and drowning.

“The network of tunnels dates back to the late 1980s, when local and state governments attempted to flood-proof the areas. Homeless people began seeking shelter there about 15 years ago, in part prompted by a growing crackdown on the Las Vegas homeless population.”

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