BAGHDAD - Agence-France Presse
Kashmiri Muslims pray at the ruins of a revered 200-year old shrine. Thousands of houses and public buildings were collapsed during the war in Iraq. AFP photo
Baghdad needs 750,000 new homes to make up for a massive housing shortfall, Iraq’s investment commission chief said yesterday as he called for bidders for a new property development project. Iraq is aiming to build one million new homes in the coming years, including a vast construction project southeast of Baghdad that officials hope will provide new housing for 600,000 people.
“Baghdad now needs 750,000 more homes,” Sami al-Araji told reporters. Araji called for bidders for a new housing development project at a former Iraqi army military camp known as Al-Rasheed in southeast Baghdad.
The area is currently home to a small Iraqi army base, as well as a refuse dump where poor families have built make-shift accommodation.
Araji hopes that up to 70,000 apartments and 5,000 independent houses will eventually be built there, along with sports and entertainment facilities, shopping and medical services.
After decades of war, sanctions and under-investment, Iraq is experiencing a major housing shortfall, and the difficulty in finding a home was one of the reasons protesters demonstrated nationwide last year.
Around 57 percent of Iraq’s urban population lives in “slum-like conditions”, according to a report published by the United Nations in 2011. The report noted that 13 percent of houses in urban areas have more than 10 people living in them, with 37 percent holding three or more people per room.