Egypt’s PM issues decree to build urban community in Warraq Island

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sharif Ismail has issued Sunday a decree establishing an urban community in Giza’s Warraq Island after several months of controversy over rumored evacuation of residents for investment flagships.

The new urban community is set be an affiliate to the country’s New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), in which the authority will be entitled to exercise all the powers vested in it in regard with the land plots supervised by the NUCA.

Warraq is the biggest island in the Nile, located in the Warraq district of Giza and is home to 60,000 residents that depend mainly on agriculture and fishing for living. The residents suffer from the absence of sewage networks, facilities, and hospitals, besides water pollution.

In July 2017, Egyptian government launched a campaign to restore state-owned land plots in Warraq Island.

The Cabinet has earlier said the campaign was targeting urban violators and non-populated buildings on the island. However, clashes erupted between some people and security forces on the island, leaving a civilian killed and dozens of policemen and citizens injured.

The government has denied rumors of evacuation of Warraq residents for investment projects and cutting off water and facilities from the island, noting that it will remove only the encroachments on the country’s land.

The security forces directed to the island to demolish the uninhabited and allegedly illegal buildings were instructed not to remove inhabited buildings and agricultural lands.

After President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi held a conference entitled removing encroachments on the country’s properties, Ismail ordered the government to prioritise reclaiming state-owned land from squatters causing a crisis in Al-Warraq.

However, its residents claimed that they have their rights to live on the island, providing documents to Ismail to prove that they are owners of the land, not squatters.