Government continues Manshiet Nasser evacuation amid criticism
Minister of Local Development Adel Labib - YOUM7/Emad Abdel Rahman
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab held a meeting on Wednesday with Minister of Administrative and Local Development Adel Labib and Cairo Governor Galal Saeed to discuss the forced evacuation of citizens from the area of Manshiet Nasser, Youm7 reported.

The government had ordered the residents to be evacuated March 30 from the area of Razaz and Herafyeen Hill due to threats of a possible rockslide, which is believed to potentially place the lives of at least 96 families in danger, Youm7 reported.

The governorate began to demolish houses in the area in the first week of April, following warnings by scientific experts against the possible collapse of the hill due to increasing cracks, similar to a rockslide that had occurred in the nearby area of Doweika in 2008.

Manshiet Nasser is one of Cairo’s largest slum areas, near Moqattam Hills, a squatter settlement dating back to the 1970’s. Residency is a major problem in the poor urban area, an issue that emerges every time the government interferes, leading inhabitants to complain of forced removal.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights condemned the evacuation decision in a report released on April 10, along with two other NGO’s, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Egyptian Center for Civil and Legislative Reform.

The NGO’s said the government was not guaranteeing the removed residents decent housing, and was using forced evictions and a dangerous demolition process that was resulting in a number of citizens living on the streets, “while a larger number awaits the same fate.”

Some residents said when they went to their new apartments, they were attacked by gunmen for money, others complained of “inhumane conditions” because the apartments were not finished and do not have water and electricity, the report said.

Mahlab had previously stated to the press that he objects to any forced movement for the residents of Herafyeen Hill because he understands the living conditions of the community, including their need to remain near familiar schools, services, and hospitals.

The NGO’s called on the government not to proceed with the evacuation without reaching full agreement with the residents, as most of them returned to their houses in Manshiet Nasser after rejecting the government’s alternatives in the areas of Moqattam and 6 October City.

Additional reporting by Hend Mokhtar.

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