CAIRO: As homeless residents of Qalet Al Kabsh continue to file complaints, officials from the Cairo governorate paid a short visit to the bulldozed area on Saturday to promise relocation.
The development plan to relocate 300 apartment buildings consumed by a fire in Qalet Al Kabsh last March was thwarted when 300 more apartment buildings were demolished Tuesday.
In search of a more efficient plan to relocate the families who lost their homes, Ahmed Helmy, assistant general sSecretary of the Cairo governorate, told The Daily Star Egypt, We are now writing a list of names of those affected by the fire as well as the names of families who suffered from last week’s demolitions.
Helmy complained about a previous list of names procured by his deputy which contained the names of 129 families who had neither been involved in March s fire nor last week s demolition. Many of the names on this list were people who falsely claimed they had lost their homes in the fire. This is why we must write another list, to find out who we must serve first, he said.
Divided by a number of street blocks, Qalet Al Kabsh is one of many neighborhoods situated in the poor Cairo suburb of Sayeda Zeinab. Block 29 suffered from March s fire but the Ministry of Housing claims that the majority of families were relocated. But, according to on-site testimonials, over 60 families from blocks 1, 2 and 3 remain homeless with no promise of relocation.
However, the Cairo governorate confirms that a total of 441 families received new housing in Nahda, an area outside Egypt s capital along the Cairo-Ismailia highway.
Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Fathy Sorour, the elected representative of Sayeda Zeinab, visited Qalet Al Kabsh for 10 minutes Saturday to interview and collect the names of residents who had nowhere to go.
Al-Masry Al-Youm daily newspaper reported on Sunday that Sorour was surrounded by hundreds of people asking him for relocation. In an effort to appease the crowd, he promised every family a place to live.
Officers attending Sorour s appearance at block 29 in Qalet Al Kabsh collected paper complaints previously issued by homeless residents.
However, hours later, Al-Masry Al-Youm alleged that the same complaints were found thrown away in side streets.
Ehsan Sayid s, 20, who once lived with her husband in block 2, explains her dire situation.
I just got married and my husband and I are trying to make ends meet. How can we do that now that we don’t have an apartment? she said.
Like many others, Sayid filed a complaint at the Sayeda Zeinab police station following the demolition, but officers refused her right to be relocated.
They told me to go back to where I came from and to find relatives to stay with. But all my relatives have no space for me. Their apartments are already crowded with their own families, she said, crying.
After our complaints were found thrown away, all we can look forward to are empty promises, said Sayid.