60 Imbaba families protest their treatment after building collapse
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Imbaba residents have staged a sit-in to protest their treatment by the government, after two buildings collapsed and 13 others were evacuated in the low-income neighborhood on Thursday, leaving 60 families homeless.

The state-owned Al-Ahram reported that residents of 15 buildings have blocked a road in Imbaba, demanding that they be provided with alternative housing. 

The families claim that they did not recieve the monetary compensation that they were promised by the governorate, nor new housing, contrary to local media reports.  

Instead, the residents allege that governorate representatives attempted to move them into tents at a youth center, which were inadequate at protecting them from the sun, and that they, along with their children, had been forced to sleep on the street.

The residents added that they were left without food or clothing, and that many of those who have been evacuated are children or elderly and unable to provide for themselves.

Khaled Zakaria al-Adly, the Giza governor, visited the residents on Saturday and tried to relocate the families into housing in 6th of October City, but the families refused, saying that it was too far away from their work. However, the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper reported on Saturday that the families had begun to move to the new housing in 6th of October City after meeting with Adly.

Al-Ahram also reported that Adly offered LE500 to each family, the equivalent of one month’s rent, but that the families refused, instead demanding that they be provided with adequate housing so their children would no longer have to be on the streets.

The families are currently in the process of negotiating with officials from the Giza governorate.

Informal districts like Imbaba often suffer housing collapses, many of which are attributed to unregulated building and exacerbated by the government’s inability to enforce regulations. Additionally, older buildings in dire need of renovation are seldom repaired.

According to the Atlantic Council, approximately 20 buildings collapse annually in Alexandria alone. Mada Masr has reported on several incidents of building collapse over the past year, with five incidents of building collapse occurring in March of 2014, killing six in Alexandria, two in Giza, two in Cairo and leaving many families homeless. 

The government has attempted to address this problem with periodic attempts at demolishing housing in unregulated areas and moving families to new locations, often on the outskirts of the city, making it difficult for residents to find work.

The privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Sunday that the government was planning on moving 4,000 families from the Cairo neighborhood of Batn al-Baqara due to poor living conditions and dilapidated state of the buildings in the area. According to the newspaper, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb met with the Urban Development Minister, the governor of Cairo and a representative from the Interior Ministry to discuss the future of informal areas and unregulated buildings.


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