Côte d’Ivoire: Thousands Left Homeless as Main City Demolishes Homes Due to Health Concerns

Dame Touré hastily packed her belongings as bulldozers descended upon her Abidjan neighborhood in Côte d’Ivoire. Alongside her three children, they salvaged what they could before armed security forces razed their home. This demolition, part of a recent wave targeting underdeveloped areas, has left hundreds displaced.


Citing public health concerns due to deadly floods during the rainy season, the government justifies the demolitions. However, for Touré and her children, the reality is sleeping under the open sky, unsure of where to turn. While demolitions in low-income neighborhoods are not uncommon in Abidjan due to rapid urbanization and housing shortages, this recent wave is particularly extensive. It underscores the struggle many African cities face in managing population growth and infrastructure needs.

Chimezie Anajama, a policy researcher, stresses the urgency for African governments to address these challenges with innovative solutions. Despite promises of relocation and support, many families remain homeless, revealing the depth of the humanitarian crisis.

Criticism mounts against the demolitions for their abruptness and disregard for vulnerable communities. Even institutions like Cha Hélène College were demolished without warning, displacing thousands of students.

While the government pledges compensation and assistance for relocation, many find it insufficient in light of rising living costs and widespread poverty. Amid protests and appeals for help, President Alassane Ouattara urges local authorities to prioritize social cohesion.

For Touré and others like her, the future is uncertain in a city where they no longer have a home or a sense of security.