Friday, June 15, 2007

Ethiopian capital's home wreckers

Via: BBCnews
Photo by: BBCnews

Twenty-four-year-old Osman Redwan woke up one morning to find his shack in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, sliced in two.

City planners had drawn a line through his neighbourhood to make way for a huge road expansion programme. And stunned onlookers watched as diggers came in to demolish everything along that line - one person's front porch, another's back garden, the front third of a traditional wooden house, half a shop.

The work was quick and clinical. Demolition teams stripped away plaster and partitions, leaving a series of bizarre cross sections behind them. Walls were torn down, exposing bedrooms and pink-tiled bathrooms to the outside world, while families retreated into what was left of their houses.

"No-one is against development," Redwan told the Addis Ababa business newspaper Fortune."But you get horrified when you realise that you end up losing your business and ruining your life. This is not war. Development should not be at the sacrifice of individuals."

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