CAIRO: Amnesty International released a call for action to evacuate and relocate 200 families from Al-Me’adessa Street in Manshyiet Nasser that are facing the risk of a rockslide.
The rights organization is urging people to write to Cairo Governor Abdel-Azim Wazir and the Informal Settlement Development Fund Director Ali Faramawy to press them to take action.
The residents are facing death or serious injury in case of an expected rock fall.
Geology experts were hired by the Cairo governorate who concluded that the zone of Al-Me’adessa Street as dangerous, according to the organization.
The authorities hired workers to secure the cliffs by breaking rocks. However, this led to rocks falling on homes, causing cracks in the walls of the nearby buildings. Meanwhile, the families haven’t been offered temporary shelter or alternative housing. They live in constant fear of sudden death, it added.
“The residents say they cannot afford to move to another place themselves because of their low incomes and their dependence on the informal economy in the neighborhood or in nearby Old Cairo, the organization explained.
On Jan. 2, 2010, the street’s residents filed a complaint to the neighborhood police station about the risks they face.
Throughout January, they also complained to the Cairo governorate and the Egyptian Parliament and organized several sit-ins calling for their relocation to a safe place.
Amnesty continues that “on Feb. 11, 2010, Amnesty International witnessed the forced evictions of families living on the same street as three buildings were demolished.
However, the evictions did not respect international human rights standards on evictions. The residents were evicted on the spot, without any prior notice.
“One man protested but the police threatened him that if he did not remain quiet he would be issued with detention orders under emergency law, Amnesty said in its statement.
On the same day of the eviction, the residents were relocated to flats in the new Suzanne Mubarak buildings in the upgraded area of Duweiqa, in Manshiyet Nasser.
As before, the residents were not provided with documentation that guarantees that they would not be forcibly be evicted again. “According to residents, some families were not given alternative housing, explains the statement.
Amnesty is also calling for holding genuine consultations with the residents to identify suitable resettlement areas.
In September 2008, a rockslide in Duweiqa killed at least 119 people and injured 55, according to the Public Prosecutor’s investigation.
The evictees were relocated to the nearby Suzanne Mubarak Buildings and, according to the Cairo governorate, around 4,000 families had been relocated there by the end of 2009.
Those who are allocated accommodation were not given security of tenure at their new places, other were left homeless.
On Dec. 29, 2009, a Vice-Governor of Cairo and seven other officials from Manshiyet Nasser District Authority were indicted on charge of involuntary homicide and injuries relating to the September 2008 Duweiqa rockslide.
The next session of their trial before Manshiyet Nasser’s Misdemeanor Court of is to start on March 10.