Baghdad needs 750,000 new homes to make up for a massive housing shortfall, Iraq's investment commission chief said on Sunday 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
The area is currently home to a small Iraqi
army base, as well as a refuse dump where poor families have built make-shift
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.
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