Warraq Island Evictions, Egypt

Marginalized residents of Al-Warraq are under the threat of being evicted as development plans are projected for the Nile Island.


Description

Al-Warraq island is located in the center of the Nile River and administratively falls under the Giza governorate. It is inhabited by around 90,000 residents who work in agriculture, fishing and various crafts. The islanders complain about poor sanitation sewage networks and contaminated drinking water [1]. Families of fishermen first made al-Warraq their home in 1952 after the island was abandoned by the government and later generations started farming the land. The residents of the island had to sustain themselves by building houses and manage their own informal services for daily needs [2]. The government later introduced some services and the island now has a hospital, police station, post office, water station and three public schools.

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Basic Data
NameWarraq Island Evictions, Egypt
CountryEgypt
ProvinceGiza
SiteWarraq Island
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Urban development conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Housing
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe development plans for the Islands are unclear.
Project Area (in hectares)526
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population90,000 - 100,000
Start Date16/07/2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesCube Consultants (CUBE) from Egypt - Prepared the strategic urban development plan of the greater Cairo region: Cairo vision 2050.
Raglan Squire & Partners (RSP) from Singapore - Development Plans of the Island
Relevant government actorsArmed Forces’ Engineering Authority

Egyptian National Police

The General Organization for Physical Planning (GOPP) - http://gopp.gov.eg
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Informal workers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Squatters
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths, Other Health impacts
OtherDifficult Access to Healthcare
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesResidents of Warraq island also submitted a list of demands, including the release of the detainees, who were arrested during clashes that erupted when security forces attempted to remove some buildings on the island in July. The residents also demanded that the family of Sayed Hassan al-Gizawy, who was killed during the clashes, be compensated. The residents say they have been residing on the island legally for more than 50 years, and if the state wants to reclaim their land, they must be provided with alternative accommodation on the island and compensated for any lost property.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.While the demolition was stopped, it is unclear what the next steps of the Egyptian government will be. For now, the residents of Al-Warraq were able to stay in their homes but since the plans for the island were not made public, it is hard to know what might happen in the future.
Sources and Materials
Links

[1] - Following deadly clashes, Nile island residents keep up fight against evictions
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[3] - Battle over the Nile
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[4] - Two companies are developing plans for the island of Al-Warraq .. And «housing» denies (Arabic)
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[5] - Horus Island Project by CUBE Consultants
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[6] - Deputy Governor reveals the establishment of a huge tourist project in Al-Warraq (Arabic)
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[8] - Egypt evicts low-income island squatters in Cairo to make way for Gulf-funded megaproject
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[9] - Sissi attempts to reassure Warraq island residents
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[2] - Smothering Cairo’s Lungs: A Story of Al-Warraq Island
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[7] - Photos and video: Warraq residents clash with security forces over demolition
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Media Links

Clashes with Police after death of an activist - Al-Araby
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A video documenting the aftermath of Sunday’s clashes - Mada Masr
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Other Documents

A house demolished by security forces in Warraq. Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat.
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Security forces fire tear gas to disperse Warraq residents. Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat.
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Residents of Warraq island facing security forces. Photo by Momen Samir.
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Security forces follow a protest by Warraq residents carrying the body of the man killed during Sunday clashes to the hospital. Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat.
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Security forces arrive to demolish buildings in Warraq island. Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat.
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Meta Information
ContributorChristophe Maroun - [email protected]
Last update03/11/2017
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