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For Eritreans, Egypt is the new route to Europe


By Hazel Haddon
IRIN Contributor
CAIRO, 6 June 2016

Like much of Cairo, the sprawling low-income neighbourhood of Ard el-Lewa comes alive in the evening, once the sun has gone down.

On warm summer nights, children chase cats along streets too narrow for cars. Tuk-tuks weave between the shisha smokers and newspaper readers spilling onto the road as the cafés fill up.
But it’s not just Egyptians out enjoying themselves. Large numbers of young Eritrean men also cluster on street corners, or gather outside the newly opened Eritrean restaurant in one of the concrete tenements, exchanging news in their Tigrinya language.
“There are so many new Eritreans now in Ard el-Lewa,” Filmon*, an Eritrean community activist, told IRIN. “It all changed at the end of last summer. So many started arriving that now there is a shortage of flats to rent and the landlords have increased the prices.”
Cairo has long been home to a small community of Eritrean refugees fleeing war, oppression and traffickers, but local activists say the number of new arrivals has soared over the last year.

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