Authorities on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte said they demolished more than 80 illegal dwellings as part of a crackdown on illegal migration and poor housing.
Police and officials were present as bulldozers went to work in the village of Hamouro, in the south-east of island, the Mayotte prefecture said on X (former Twitter).
A total of 81 illegal dwellings were demolished and several families have already accepted an offer of alternative accommodation, the local officials said.
Nouvelle opération de lutte contre l’habitat illégal et insalubre.
81 habitations illégales ont été démolies à Hamouro dans la commune de Bandrélé ce jour.
36 familles ont été recensées et 7 d’entre elles ont accepté une proposition d’hébergement. pic.twitter.com/UpETEyRBrQ
— Préfet de Mayotte (@Prefet976) August 14, 2023
Since April, France has deployed hundreds of police officers in the French overseas department of Mayotte – France’s poorest region – to prepare for a slum-clearing initiative called Operation Wuambushu.
Wuambushu (meaning recovery in Mahorais) is the name given to the operation to fight crime, irregular immigration and unsanitary housing that the central government began four months ago.
Tensions with Comoros
After weeks of legal delays and diplomatic tensions with the neighbouring Comoros Islands, which along with Mayotte makes up the archipelago, diggers started destroying sheet-metal shacks in May.
Some organisations have denounced Wuambushu as a brutal measure violating the rights of migrants. But local elected officials and many islanders support it.
This week’s action is the biggest clearance in Mayotte since the launch of Operation Wuambushu.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is also France’s Overseas Minister, said the government plans to demolish around 1,250 substandard homes in Mayotte by the end of 2023, including 1,000 tin huts.
Of the estimated 350,000 inhabitants of Mayotte, half do not have French nationality. Only a third of the inhabitants of the slums have French citizenship.
https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20230815-authorities-demolish-slums-on-french-indian-ocean-island-of-mayotte Authorities demolish slums on French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte