In Egypt: Even the buildings of the rich collapse!

Although it became customary in Egypt to report news of a landing and many buildings were cracked, the scene of the evacuation of Sharbatly Building in one of the luxurious neighborhoods, which is the Zamalek district in Cairo, was different.

In many of various neighborhoods, scenes of buildings cracking, evicting its residents, and displacing them were repeated due to the danger of their collapse, and sometimes buildings actually crumbled on the heads of its residents before their leaving. But what is new this time is that it took place in the most affluent and wealthy neighborhoods of Cairo, and in the building inhabited by many celebrities and art stars, where suddenly its rich residents became setting in the street and found no shelter for them.

Cairo Governorate decided to vacate this building as a result of cracks, and the sudden tilt caused by the excavation of the third line of the subway. Although the scene of the displacement of the residents after the buildings were cracked is familiar in the popular neighborhoods, it appeared different this time in the neighborhood of Zamalek, which is famous for its calmness, heritage buildings, and its rich residents. The price of a housing unit in that upscale neighborhood is 4 million pounds. Perhaps this explains the media focus and popular interest in Egypt in the case, which has turned into severe criticism of government measures towards the population after statements from the Minister of Transport described as provocative.

Activists on social media attacked the Egyptian Minister of Transport, Kamel Al-Wazir, and sympathized with the residents of the Sharbatly building. The wave of sympathy came after media statements to the minister calling on the residents of the Sharbatly building to agree to demolish the property and build a car garage in its place.

The Minister reduced the fears of the building collapse, adding that the 86 residents of the property received compensation estimated at 30,000 pounds for each resident, in order to stay outside the property for a period of one month. The statements were viewed by activists as exploitation by “Al-Wazir” of the crisis and a lack of feeling of the suffering of citizens, accusing the minister of deliberately sabotaging the property through drilling machines to establish a profitable project.

Zamalek building

Cairo Governorate decided to evacuate the residents of Zamalek Building which known as “Sharbatly” until the examination of the property by the relevant committees, as the initial inspection showed that there were damage and accidental cracks, landing in the real estate garage, and landing at the entrance to the embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, adjacent to the building.

The building consists of two parts; the first overlooks Brazil Street, consisting of 12 floors and has 37 housing units of which 16 are inhabited and 21 closed housing units. The second part overlooks Aziz Abaza Street and is composed of 11 floors and it contains 33 housing units of which 28 are inhabited, and 5 closed housing units. The building was subjected to a sudden landing due to the implementation of the subway project (third line) in the region.

The residents of Zamalek had previously objected to that project and the way it was implemented in their area, explaining that the work of digging the subway poses a danger to the future of the architectural heritage of the neighborhood’s buildings. Residents stressed that this project threatens lives and real estate, as residents of the region live in a state of anxiety, while continuing to hear strong and consecutive tremors, against the background of digging in the ground in the region. This area includes many foreign embassies and old heritage properties.

Mohamed Al-Masoud, MP form al-Zamalek, had previously submitted an interrogation against the former Minister of Transport, Hesham Arafat, accusing him of being involved in suspicions of administrative corruption in the subway file. The parliamentarian held the minister responsible for wasting 48 billion pounds on the cost of constructing the metro in Zamalek (underground), instead of constructing on the ground surface metro from Ramses to Imbaba at a cost of 700 million pounds. The deputy referred to the study of the Japanese “JICA” organization, which was cited by the people of Zamalek in a lawsuit they filed against the government, as that study called for the establishment of a surface metro.

The celebrities building

The building is also famous for the art stars who lived in it, such as the famous actress Souad Hosni, who lived in it before she traveled to England and died there. In the building also were living actor Mahmoud Al-Melegy, actress Kawtar Shafiq, actor Ezz Al-Din Zulfikar, and actress Alwiya Jamil. Also the old singer Najat Al-Saghira lives in this building, her photos were circulated sitting in front of the building evacuation, while she put a piece of cloth on her face.

Deer to fall

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, the number of properties on the verge of collapsing, without any action being taken, is 97,535 properties distributed throughout the Republic.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics also acknowledges that there is a huge problem facing buildings as a result of the imbalance of groundwater, which causes land subsidence, in addition to the weakening of the basic facilities, especially “drainage and water networks.” While a report issued by the Ministry of Housing during 2017 revealed that the size of the real estate wealth amounted to about 13.4 million buildings, of which 10.1 million buildings, 75% do not need restoration, and 3.2 million buildings, with 24% needing restoration and maintenance.