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Complexo do Alemão

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November 1, 2008

Complexo do Alemão is one of the poorest and most violent favelas in Rio de Janeiro. In June 2007, the shantytown made headlines when a two-month long police operation led to the killing of nineteen residents on a single day. The police claimed they were targeting drug traffickers, but many of those killed were innocent bystanders, including women and children. They might have had a chance at survival if they’d had access to emergency care in their community.

Doctors Without Borders is known for its emergency care in war-ravaged countries and in the aftermath of natural disasters. But providing care to victims of urban violence is new territory for them. The organization opened a clinic in Complexo do Alemão last October, and the waiting rooms have been full almost every day since.

Ruxandra Guidi works as a radio and print freelance journalist. In the last year, she’s been reporting from Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Venezuela, and Mexico.

Roberto [Bear] Guerra is an independent photographer based in South America. His images, photo essays, and multimedia pieces on topics ranging from the Shipibo Indians of the Peruvian Amazon Basin to an emergency clinic in one of Rio’s most notorious favelas have been published widely.

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