Legends of the fall: Dweiqa one year on

The 2008 Dweiqa landslide tragedy — which took the lives of hundreds of people — is still vivid in the memory of local residents, who continue to live in fear of boulders crashing down upon them. All they can do is pray for God’s protection from another fateful tremor. 

Dweiqa is different from other Cairo shantytowns. Water and electricity cuts are not the main concern of the people living there; nor is it the government’s history of negligence in providing them with health and educational services. All they worry about is whether those heavy rocks above them will tumble down once again on the rickety shacks they have built for themselves in the mountain’s hollow.    

Some of these shacks, no bigger than 20 square meters, are shared by two or three families. Local resident Muhammad Fahim’s dream is to find a decent living space for himself, his wife and their three daughters, without having to share it with others. 

Most residents here raise sheep and chickens, which they are often unable to feed. You might find some of these sheep wandering about the mountain, woefully looking for dry bush to graze on.

Since the tragedy, the government has managed to move some of the people of Dweiqa to the Suzanne Mubarak public housing project. Others are still waiting for a vacancy.

The rest, though, have abandoned hope and keep praying to God to keep those precarious rocks in place.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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