- Title: After losing jobs, many Sudanese struggle to make ends meet in Egypt
- Date: 15th July 2020
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) SUDANESE REFUGEE, AYAT MOHAMED, FIXING LAUNDRY IN BALCONY MOHAMED COOKING IN KITCHEN WITH DAUGHTER MOHAMED STIRRING FOOD IN PAN MOHAMED COOKING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SUDANESE REFUGEE, AYAT MOHAMED, SAYING: "It is very difficult, very difficult. We can't bear it anymore. What can we do? This is supposed to be better than where we came from. They say that (in Darfur) there is war, there is rape, there is killing and death. These things are not here, but still, our financial situation is difficult. Everything is paused. There is no work. Even food, even cooking (are difficult). We barely afford beans, salad and eggs. The children are suffering from anaemia, tuberculosis, and what not, all from the anaemia." CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) SUDANESE REFUGEE, ABDEL NASSER KHAMIS, SITTING WITH FAMILY AT HOME KHAMIS HOLDING CHILD VARIOUS OF KHAMIS WITH FAMILY WOMAN HOLDING CHILD (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SUDANESE REFUGEE, ABDELNASSER KHAMIS, SAYING: "I have not paid rent for this house for three months. The landlord was okay about it, but now says that this is the last month. So by the end of next month, end of July, if I don't pay rent for this July, I will have to leave the house. He says I have to pay." CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) MOHAMED'S CHILDREN PLAYING IN BEDROOM CHILD LOOKING ON CHILDREN PLAYING BOARD GAME CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) SIGN READING (Arabic): "THE INITIATIVE FOR HUMANITARIAN AID FOR SUDANESE IN EGYPT" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF SUDANESE CHARITY, ABDALLAH RABEH, SAYING: "We realised that during the time of the (coronavirus) spread, most Sudanese families that used to work in factories, in companies, perhaps many of them women working in homes, have stopped working. After stopping work, they were hit with negative results, such as being evicted from apartments because they are unable to pay rent. That is a large number of people. We have just entered the studio to do this interview, and in that time we have received several calls saying that there are families thrown out of their apartments." CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) CHILDREN PLAYING CHILD LOOKING ON CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 8, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF OF MISSION OF IOM IN EGYPT, LAURENT DE BOECK, SAYING: "I think we have received 26,500 requests, and we have provided regular support to 5,000 approximately. We have a plan and a strategy for reaching 80,000, because that is the estimate we have done, which is a minimum, according to what we see as most vulnerable. The difficulty in this circumstance is that we have to prioritise people, and humanely it is extremely difficult to say that." CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FAMILY MEMBERS SITTING IN LIVING ROOM VARIOUS OF MOHAMED'S SICK FATHER IN WHEELCHAIR CHILDREN SEATED
- Embargoed: 29th July 2020 06:43
- Keywords: Coronavirus Egypt Eviction Health IOM Migrants Refugees Sudanese Unemployment
- Location: CAIRO, EGYPT
- City: CAIRO, EGYPT
- Country: Egypt
- Reuters ID: LVA001CMX5HEF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: After losing his job as house cleaner in Cairo, Sudanese refugee Abdel-Nasser Khamis has been struggling to pay his bills.
It's a fate shared by tens of thousands of migrants in Egypt, where the fallout from the coronavirus has hit the economy hard, U.N. officials and aid workers say.
Coronavirus lockdowns also cost many Egyptians their jobs. More than a quarter of those who had a job have not been working since the government brought in measures to fight the pandemic, while more than half have been put on shorter hours, the statistics office says.
In turn, Egyptians have been forced to let go migrants from Africa and Asia working as domestic staff, drivers or labourers, residents, migrants and aid workers say.
The U.N. migration agency IOM has seen requests for aid from foreigners in Egypt jump fourfold since March.
Khamis, who lives with his wife, baby and relatives in a small flat in the crowded Ain Shams district, receives food parcels from a charity. But it is not enough.
"I have not paid rent for this house for three months. The landlord was okay about it, but now says that this is the last month," the 29-year-old said, breaking down in tears.
IOM estimates that a fifth of about 6.3 million foreigners in Egypt are "vulnerable" which require help, said Laurent De Boeck, IOM's head in Egypt.
"I think we have received 26,500 (cash) requests," he said. "We have a plan and a strategy for reaching 80,000."
The government press centre and foreign ministry did not respond to questions on the situation of migrants.
Egypt says its treatment of refugees is exemplary as they receive services such as health care without discrimination and live freely among locals.
De Boeck said Egyptians were very welcoming but there was a limit to what they could do. Even before COVID-19 broke out around third of locals were below the poverty rate, and nearly three-quarters have seen their income fall since then, official figures show.
A Sudanese charity has been helping more than 500 families whose breadwinners have become unemployed in Egypt. "Many are facing eviction because they cannot pay the rent," said Abdallah Rabeh, one of its leaders.
Ayat Mohamed, 40, who lives with 6 children, her sick father and two other relatives in a barely furnished flat, has been worrying about how to find food as her day laborer husband has not since March.
Not only Sudanese are affected. Some 1,000 Nigerians have lost their jobs and so have around a quarter of the 4,000 Filipinos living in Egypt, according to community leaders.
IOM has received requests from 1,500 people to be flown home and expects another 500 in the next three months.
For Khamis going back to Darfur, home to an unresolved conflict where the U.N. says 300,000 have died, is not an option. "There is no security in Darfur," he said.
(Ahmed Fahmy, Sherif Fahmy, Sayed Sheasha, Nadeen Ebrahim)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None