200 families at risk of forced eviction in Egypt
200 families at risk of forced eviction in Egypt
Monday, May 10,2010 14:37

 There was a heavy police presence during the forced eviction and demolition, and according to the Egyptian Center for Housing Rights, police beat some of those evicted. A security official reportedly offered them compensation of 500 Egyptian Pounds (US$89) on the day they were evicted, and also told them that they could rebuild their homes in another area of the settlement, away from the planned road.

It appears that the eviction orders were issued by the Governor of Port Said under a law which allows him to remove buildings which “infringe” on state-owned land. As the residents of Zerzara were not notified of the eviction orders, they could not appeal against them before a court, in breach of Egyptian law.

The Egyptian Center for Housing Rights has filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor to stop further demolitions taking place. However, the authorities have not yet responded, and the demolitions of the homes of those also living in the path of the planned road could happen at any time.

Zerzara informal settlement has been designated as an “unsafe area” in Port Said by the authorities. Most people living in Zerzara were previously evicted from their homes in other areas of Port Said, after they were deemed unsafe. The buildings were in imminent danger of collapsing, just like thousands of deteriorating houses in Egypt.

The evictees were not offered alternative housing, and moved to Zerzara, where they built their own homes. They do not have access to clean water and sanitation. The eviction is apparently aimed at improving access to modern housing in the middle of which the Zerzara informal settlement stretches. The housing units belong to Port Said Governorate, and many remain empty but are unaffordable for those living in Zerzara.

Republished With Permission From Bikya Masr