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Ivory Coast Faces Challenges With Urban Demolitions

A school girl walks past houses that were demolished on public health grounds in the Gesco neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Rapid urbanisation has led to a population bo

In a recent wave of demolitions in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, leaving residents homeless and uncertain about their future. The government claims the demolitions are necessary due to public health concerns, citing deadly floods and disease outbreaks in the underdeveloped areas along the lagoon.

The demolitions have primarily targeted impoverished suburbs in the Gesco and Sebroko districts, affecting an estimated hundreds of thousands of residents. Families have been evicted without prior notice or compensation, sparking outrage and protests from affected individuals and rights groups.

Rapid urbanization in Abidjan has led to a population boom and housing shortages, with nearly one in five Ivorians residing in the city. The latest demolitions are among the largest in years, highlighting the challenges faced by many African governments in managing urban growth and infrastructure needs.

Hundreds of homes destroyed in Gesco and Sebroko districts
Demolitions in Abidjan due to public health concerns
Rapid urbanization in Abidjan leading to housing shortages
Evictions sparking outrage and protests
Displaced families struggling to find shelter

While local authorities defend the demolitions as necessary for public safety, critics argue that the evictions have been carried out in a brutal manner, causing devastating consequences for vulnerable families. Many displaced residents remain homeless, with some squatting in other parts of the city or seeking refuge elsewhere in the country.

Efforts to provide support and relocation assistance to those affected have been initiated by the government, including compensation packages and plans to lease land to evicted families for a nominal fee. However, some residents feel that the assistance offered is insufficient to address the growing cost of housing and the challenges of rebuilding their lives.

As the displaced families struggle to cope with the aftermath of the demolitions, calls for authorities to halt the campaign and provide more comprehensive support continue to grow. The situation remains tense as residents grapple with uncertainty and the loss of their homes and livelihoods.

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