Ver Angola


NGO condemns "degrading situation" of over 500 families affected by fire in Luanda

The non-governmental organization SOS Habitat - Solidary Action, condemned this Tuesday "the degrading situation" of more than 500 families, displaced due to a fire that destroyed about 150 houses of slabs, in Luanda.

: Lusa

At stake is a fire that occurred last July 28, caused by a resident in a state of drunkenness who, while falling asleep with a lit candle, set a fire that consumed a total of 150 homes of slabs clustered in the middle of two drainage ditches, in the community of Areia Branca.

At the time, the urban administrator of Samba, Gabriel Júnior, who was part of a delegation of the Administrative Commission of Luanda, which went to the place, told the press that a space was being created in the municipality of Belas, for the accommodation of the casualties.

In a press release, SOS Habitat - Solidary Action expresses "great concern" about the slowness in the decision making of the emergency plan by the Government of Luanda Province for the accommodation of these families.

According to the organization, "the process of relocation of these families in decent housing should be activated in order to put an end to the suffering that these families live in a degrading and inhumane situation".

"These are more than 500 families located in the district of Samba, municipality of Luanda, who eight years ago saw their houses demolished in Areia Branca. Two weeks later, homeless on the streets of Luanda, they built dwellings of sheet metal and cardboard, clustered in the middle of two drainage ditches and garbage dumps in Kinanga," reads the note.

SOS Habitat - Solidary Action stresses that "the misery and lack of basic sanitation" in that community, "which is a few meters from the National Assembly, the Central Government headquarters and the official residence of President João Lourenço, has already caused epidemics and several deaths of children and adults".

"Recall also that this type of agglomeration of sheet and cardboard houses creates danger in case there is any calamity situation, as well as also seriously violates the constitutional postulate in its paragraph 1 of art.32 (Right to identity, privacy and intimacy) where the State declares its recognition of the rights to personal identity, civil capacity, nationality, good name and reputation, image, word and the reserve of intimacy of private and family life," the organization stresses.

The non-governmental organization appealed to the President of the Republic, in particular to the Government of Luanda Province, to adhere to the laws regarding the emergency plan and to maintain its work in total commitment to the people, regardless of the circumstances, so that their rights are respected.

According to SOS Habitat - Solidary Action, those families have been living for eight years in a dramatic situation, which the Angolan authorities assist "in a serene way".

"We reiterate here that, if the more than 500 families of that Areia Branca community have committed any crime, which was reflected eight years ago in the demolitions of their residences, that they be judged in a fair way, that they be condemned and put in jail, or if they are foreigners, that the Angolan government activate the plan of their repatriation to their countries of origin, where they can be treated with respect and dignity," stresses the document.

To the civil society and the international community, the organization demands that they unite to support them with food and water, "which are the basics that are needed at this moment" since they have been out in the open for almost a week.

"And that the Provincial Court of Luanda be swift in the criminal case brought against the perpetrators, in 2019, by the community and supported by SOS Habitat - Solidary Action, with the aim of bringing to justice those responsible who (directly or indirectly) participated in this act so cruel, with respect to universally recognized human rights," the statement adds.

The neighborhood of Areia Branca was demolished in 2013 for the implementation of an urban development project, valued at 600 million euros, which was managed by the company Urbinveste, in the new Luanda waterfront, linked to businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.

The approximately 3000 residents of that area, coercively evicted, filed a complaint with the court in 2019, demanding compensation of 1130 million kwanzas.