Turkey's finance minister to visit Egypt for first time in 9 years    Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO alliance    Shell acquires Block 3 in North East El-Amriya, Egypt    Egypt's foreign inflows grow 30% since pound correction move in March – c.bank governor    Twitter board eagers to close Musk's deal, despite spam pots percentage    Saudi Arabia prolongs Yemen central bank's deposit    Egypt Knauf launches its first training centre in Egypt    Egypt uncovers official logo for COP27    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Egypt unveils 50 pound coin minted to mark Avenue of Sphinxes grand reopening    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Hot, rainy weather hits Egypt this week    COVID-19 in Egypt: infections fall to 124 cases last week    Realme announces Global Photography Contest 2022    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Eviction of slum in Port Said sheds light on catastrophic housing situation in Egypt
Published in Daily News Egypt on 14 - 05 - 2010

CAIRO: Residents of Zerzara, a slum in Port Said, were caught off guard as bulldozers began to destroy 15 houses in the neighborhood on May 4.
Without prior notice, the governor of Port Said ordered the eviction of the informal settlements infringing the widening of a road that should provide better access to modern buildings surrounding the area.
“So far 15 houses have been destroyed, but we estimate that another 200 houses are at risk,” Manal El-Tibe, director of the Egyptian Center for Housing Rights (ECHR), told Daily News Egypt.
According to the ECHR, police forces escorting the bulldozers were violent towards protesting residents. “We were also prevented from taking photos,” El-Tibe adds.
The families already evicted were offered LE 500 in compensation for the loss of their homes and allowed to rebuild their homes away from the road, according to a report by Amnesty International.
"Even if the authorities are genuinely building a road for the benefit of the community, nothing can justify the fact that families were thrown out of their houses without being given anywhere to go," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International, said.
Last week, Amnesty International called on the Egyptian authorities to halt the forced eviction of 200 families in Port Said.
“It is the second time these people have been evicted from their houses,” El Tibe explained. Most of the Zerzara residents have constructed their houses in 2000 after they were evicted from rundown housing in Al-Salam and Nasser areas, two other slums in Port Said, without being offered alternative housing.
“They treated them like trash,” El-Tibe adds. “Zerzara was a dam area before. Now, there is no sanitation, no water, no electricity – nothing.”
As a consequence of the accumulation of rubbish and sewerage water on the land, the around 6000 families living in Zerzara are susceptible to a host of dangerous diseases.
“The ECHR immediately filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor in order to stop the demolition process and to open an investigation. But the attorney general has to invite the victims and us to hear the complaint. But until now there was no response,” El Tibe said.
“I don't think there will be a reply,” she said.
In 2009, Zerzara residents protested because of their lamentable housing conditions. The governorate responded with the promise to build 9,000 housing units for Port Said's slum residents, of which 3,000 should be allocated to families of Zerzara.
According to Khaled Mahmoud Abbas from the Ministry of Housing, six months ago the governorate started the construction of low income housing units.
“This week, the governorate will announce in the Port Said Stadium which families will receive an apartment, which apartment they will get and when they can move in,” he told Daily News Egypt.
“This project is part of the National Housing Program aimed at creating 500, 000 low income housing units in six years. The program will end October 2011,” Abbas explains.
In 2007, according to the Ministry of State for Local Development, 12 million people lived in 870 informal settlements in Egypt – informal statistics estimate that there are around 16 million.
In October 2008, the Informal Settlement Development Fund (ISDF) was created to develop strategies in order to deal with the slum phenomenon in Egypt.
Until now, the ISDF identified 440 risk areas – Zerzara was classified as a second degree unsafe area – and started 30 pilot projects. “The aim is basically to remove the slums and to resettle the residents to more adequate housing units,” Abbas said.
El-Tibe sees two problems in the ISDF's strategy: “The ISDF declared clearly that it will not engage in a consultation process with the civil society, NGOs and the local powers. But without consultation, they will not go in the right direction.”
“Also, they don't have the financing – there are 440 risk areas and they have only LE 500 million per year.”
“They can finance it only if they remove the informal settlements that are on profitable land and sell the land. But I fear that they there will be a prioritization of risk areas, favoring the ones that are on profitable land. Even worse, they could declare areas as risk areas even if they are not, only because they want to sell the land.”
In Egypt, offer and demand in the housing sector are diverging. “The government invests in more luxurious housing and considers that ‘low income families' can afford paying LE 600 per month for housing alone. This does not correspond to reality,” El-Tibe said.
This leads to a notable number of empty housing units. “In 2006, the national census showed that 5.8 million housing units have never been rented or sold,” El-Tibe told Daily News Egypt.
“The government cannot build houses for everybody; there is no budget for it. But instead of destroying the informal settlements, why not let the people build their own houses and provide them with the facilities?” she said.

Clic here to read the story from its source.