Albania's state ombudsman says he has moved dozens of homeless members of the Roma community into his Tirana office to highlight their plight as a cold snap hits the region.
Igli Totozani said Wednesday he has provided shelter to the 51 Roma, 25 of whom are children, to protect them from near-freezing temperatures. He said it was an "emergency solution," warning that the children would otherwise die of exposure in the open.
The Roma, or Gypsies, were left without shelter after being twice evicted from private land on the fringes of Tirana where they had set up tents.
Totozani said he hoped the Labor Ministry would soon resolve the situation.
Most of Albania's Roma live in tents or ramshackle homes in city outskirts, and lack access to adequate housing, education and employment.