Yangon squatter numbers booming

The number of squatter households has increased fivefold in the 19 townships of Yangon city, says researcher Zin Min who carried out extensive research into the slums of the city.

He said the number reached almost 44,000 in townships such as South and North Okkalapa, Thingangyun, South, North and East Dagon, Dagon Seikkan, Dawbon, Thaketa, Dala, Mingala Taungnyunt, Yankin, Kamayut, Mayangon, Mingaladon, Shwepyitha, Hlaingthaya, Hlaing and Insein, a dramatic climb from around 9,000 in 1990.

Zin Min added that Hlaingthaya had the most squatters with more than 100,000, followed by Dagon Seikkan.

“The number of squatters increased dramatically in Dagon Seikkan. A key reason is city’s expansion and the establishment of industrial zones. The government creates no affordable housing for families on low-incomes. The housing projects currently in development are not affordable for them. They became squatters as they couldn’t afford rents either,” said the researcher.

Squatters mostly live alongside rivers on government land and near industrial zones.

“Previous governments dealt with the squatter issue by building new towns. From 1993 to 2002, the government managed the problem in this way. More than 11,000 households moved from bamboo huts to concrete homes in such projects,” Zin Min said.

The researcher said the whole city now had about 500,000 squatters.

Independent Yangon regional MP Dr Nyo Nyo Thin for Bahan has attacked the Yangon government’s inability to address the issue.

Source: Nation Multimedia

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