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Displaced Ivorians Left Homeless As Homes Demolished In Abidjan

Thousands of residents in Abidjan have been left homeless after the demolition of homes in low-income areas without warning.

Authorities in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, have initiated a campaign of demolishing homes in low-income areas, citing public health concerns. leaving thousands displaced and homeless.

While hundreds of homes were crushed in February, the latest demolition in Abidjan concentrated on impoverished suburbs like Gesco and Sebroko, targeting underdeveloped regions prone to deadly floods during the rainy season.

Officials also say the deluges become breeding grounds for water-borne and other diseases.

The recent demolitions, among the largest in years, have stirred controversy and raised human rights concerns, with affected families claiming that this time, no prior notice or compensation was given.

While local authorities defend the demolitions as necessary for urban revitalisation, asserting that the relocation of homeless families to safer areas has already commenced, critics argue that they are being carried out in a brutal manner, disregarding the plight of vulnerable families.

The government’s vision is clear. These neighbourhoods need to be cleaned up,” the Ivory Coast’s communications minister, Amadou Coulibaly, said.

He also claimed in February that some of those evicted in neighbourhoods like Boribana are being resettled in at least 1,000 houses built by the government.

Despite government promises of compensation and resettlement, many families remain homeless, unable to afford alternative housing. The situation has prompted outrage and protests from affected communities, calling for a halt to the demolitions.

“It’s our whole history. I was born here. My parents have been here for 40 years. So Boribana is like our village,” Youssouf Coulibaly, a Boribana youth leader said.

“Imagine for a moment that when our children went to school, when they left (the house) there were no policemen. They say to themselves that at midday, we’re going to go back home to eat, and come to find that dad isn’t there, mum isn’t there, the house isn’t there.”

In response to the growing outcry, President Alassane Ouattara has urged local authorities to demonstrate solidarity and ensure social cohesion. However, concerns persist regarding the adequacy of compensation and support for displaced families.

Nevertheless, city officials say that the demolitions are integral to a larger initiative aimed at rebuilding and furnishing essential infrastructure in the affected regions. They affirm that plots of land will be leased to displaced individuals for a period of up to 25 years, at a monthly rate of approximately $16.

Melissa Enoch

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