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Page last updated at 04:08 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Egypt rockslide probe criticised

People tried to lift rocks from crushed houses (file pic)
Hundreds were buried alive following the rockslide

A human rights watchdog has criticised the Egyptian government for not doing enough to ensure the safety of thousands of Cairo slum-dwellers.

Amnesty International says Egypt failed to fully investigate a deadly rockslide in the Duwayqa area in September 2008.

The authorities say 107 died but the BBC's Christian Fraser in Cairo says many more are still unaccounted for.

An official government investigation into the tragedy has yet to report its findings.

Amnesty said Egypt needed to do far more to ensure a tragedy like this was not repeated.

The rights group said the government had to fully investigate why the disaster was not averted, despite the risk of a rockslide being well known.

Forced evictions

Our correspondent says Duwayqa is part of an enormous settlement on slopes in the east of the Egyptian capital where thousands of people still live day to day with the same risks.

He adds 26 areas in greater Cairo have been identified as unsafe by the government as part of their plan to redevelop the city by 2050.

But so far there has been little or no consultation with affected communities and the residents now face a double risk: a lack of safety and the ever-present possibility of forced eviction, he says.

Amnesty International's Middle East and Africa director, Malcolm Smart, said the Duwayqa rockslide had been "a disaster waiting to happen".

"Egypt's poor should not have to live any longer with the threat of being buried alive", he said.



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