الأربعاء، 17 سبتمبر 2008

Duweiqa blame game begins


By Abdel-Rahman Hussein in daily news egypt : A game of pass the buck has begun between different governmental institutions to see who will shoulder the blame in the Duweiqa rockslide crisis.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity began proceedings by saying it was not responsible for providing housing units to residents of shantytowns, this rater being the domain of the Cairo governorate.Ministry official Mohammed Salah said, “Our role is to pay out compensation and provide basic services, but the Cairo governorate is responsible for providing housing units,” Al-Masry Al-Youm reported
For its part, the Cairo governorate squared the blame on former Housing Minister MohamedIbrahim Suleiman as well as incumbent Ahmed El-Maghrabi. Cairo Governor Abdel-Azim Wazeer said that in 1998 the Ministry was commissioned by the government to provide new housing in Duweiqa with a grant from the Abu Dhabi National Fund.
Wazeer said that the project should have been carried out by the governorate, and not the Housing Ministry.
Current Housing Minister El-Maghrabi promised to provide 2,500 flats for the people of Duweiqa last May but according to local reports these flats were only given out after the rockslide.
Police files indicate that 92 bodies have been pulled out of the rockslide and another 12 are estimated to be underneath the rubble. After they are recovered the search will stop.
However, NDP officials from the area as well as other residents estimate that there are at least 180 bodies still buried under the debris.
Other reports say at least 95 people were killed in the massive rockslide, while estimates of the number of people killed in the disaster have been put at 500 by some television channels.
Residents have blamed the rockslide on work that had been going on for several weeks on the Moqattam hill overlooking the shantytown, and said the authorities had been warned of the dangers of such a disaster.
There is a lot of anger from the residents towards local council officials and families in the area staged a sit-in Tuesday calling for reallocation to other housing and clashed with the Deputy Governor.
Although security forces loosened their grip somewhat on the area after practically locking it off these past few days, representatives of civil society and opposition groups were unsuccessful in staging a protest in the area because residents were reticent to participate.
By Tuesday search efforts had practically reached a standstill and all that were dug out were partial body parts that were buried again under the boulders after no one could identify them.