Thousands Left Homeless in Abidjan Amid Demolitions, Health Concerns

Thousands in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, left homeless after government demolishes homes without notice or adequate compensation, raising concerns about urban development and vulnerable communities' rights.

Quadri Adejumo
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Thousands Left Homeless in Abidjan Amid Demolitions, Health Concerns

Thousands Left Homeless in Abidjan Amid Demolitions, Health Concerns

Abidjan, Ivory Coast - Thousands of residents in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's economic hub, have been rendered homeless due to a wave of demolitions targeting underdeveloped areas along a lagoon. The government claims the demolitions are necessary due to public health concerns, as the poor areas suffer from deadly floods during the rainy season.

The evictions have been carried out without prior notice or compensation, according to evicted families and rights groups. Armed security forces have overseen the destruction of hundreds of homes , including that of Dame Touré and her three children, who had to quickly gather what they could before their home was reduced to rubble.

The demolitions have affected hundreds of thousands of residents, including nearly 2,000 schoolchildren whose school was demolished without prior notice. While the government says it will provide relocation support and lease land to the evicted, many remain homeless and scattered across the city .

Why this matters: The forced evictions in Abidjan highlight the challenges faced by African governments in managing rapid urbanization and providing adequate infrastructure in growing cities. The situation raises concerns about the rights of vulnerable communities and the need for inclusive urban development policies.

The Ivorian League for Human Rights has urged authorities to halt the demolition campaign, which they say is being carried out in a brutal manner and causing disastrous consequences for vulnerable families. The government claims the demolitions are part of a broader project to reconstruct and provide basic amenities in the areas, but critics say the compensation offered is insufficient to afford the growing cost of housing in the city.

"They came and crushed our house without warning us," said Dame Touré, a mother of three who was evicted from her home in the Gesco district. "We don't know where to go now. The government says they will give us money, but it's not enough to find a new place to live."

Key Takeaways

  • Thousands of Abidjan residents rendered homeless by demolitions.
  • Demolitions target underdeveloped areas along a lagoon for public health.
  • Evictions done without notice or compensation, affecting 2,000 schoolchildren.
  • Government promises relocation support, but many remain homeless.
  • Demolitions highlight challenges of urbanization and need for inclusive policies.