Paris will evacuate tumbledown apartment buildings

Police were preparing Wednesday to evacuate Paris' most dilapidated apartment buildings and squats, a response to three deadly fires that killed 48 African immigrants in recent months.

Paris police headquarters launched the emergency measures Tuesday, hours after seven Africans, including four children, died as flames tore through a squat in the heart of the capital. One 6-year-old victim died after his desperate mother threw him from a fifth-floor window.

In response, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy ordered all havens for squatters shut down. Police said Tuesday they had already evacuated one building in northern Paris, but only one person was staying there at the time.

Firefighters will also visit run-down buildings and install fire alarms if needed, police said in a statement.

Housing Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said funding new lodgings for those evacuated 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."

"It's out of the question to leave these people in a situation of vital risk," he said.

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