Iraqi government builds housing for IDPs in Salaheddine province
By Khalid al-Taie
The Iraqi government has been hard at work to overcome one of the biggest challenges standing in the way of internally displaced people returning to their areas of origin: completely destroyed homes.
As part of this effort, a housing complex in Salaheddine province was opened for families that have been living in displacement camps for years and cannot rebuild their homes at present.
The housing complex, which was completed in late November, includes 100 low cost homes and is one of several projects that officials hope would contribute towards containing the crisis of damaged homes in Salaheddine.
Khaled Mahjoub, director of the Salaheddine branch of the Ministry of Migration and Displacement, told Diyaruna the complex is "exclusively reserved for the most impoverished displaced families that cannot return as a result of complete destruction to their homes".
The complex, located in al-Qadisiyah area in northern Tikrit, includes small housing units supplied with water and electricity and is already housing all 100 families.
Two years ago, the ministry had launched another similar project where 1,500 caravan homes were built to house displaced families in the areas of Yathreb, Aziz Balad, Juzayrat and Um Shaeefa, Mahjoub said.
The project is still ongoing and "more such homes are being built in al-Rawashid area with help from the UNHCR", he said.
The "100 homes" housing complex was a result of joint efforts between the local authorities and the Ministry of Migration with support from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said Fazaa al-Shimmari, director of the Joint Monitoring and Co-ordination Centre between the Salaheddine government and the federal government.
Other housing projects
Al-Shimmari spoke to Diyaruna of the joint effort to build other complexes for displaced families with the help of international organisations, in order to support families that are suffering from abject poverty and improve their conditions.
"We are focusing on housing people from areas that were most affected by terrorist operations, such as Baiji district, al-Siniya and the outskirts of al-Sharqat," he added.
"So far, 3,000 compensation applications have been processed for families whose properties were damaged by the war and these families have received the funds," Salaheddine governor Ammar Jabr told Diyaruna.
"There are 15,000 more applications that are being processed," he added.
However, the compensation only covers 20% of the total damage -- which does not cover the cost of rebuilding destroyed homes, he said, and should be increased.
Salaheddine's local government also gets 5,000 units out of a total of 100,000 low cost units the federal government is building across all Iraqi provinces for poor and displaced families.
The local government hopes the "National Housing Project" will alleviate the burden on IDPs and reinforce stability in the province, Jabr said.
The lots where the units will be built have already been designated, he said, and the designs have been completed, awaiting the start of construction work soon.
Jabr said they have requested more units be allocated to Salaheddine from the "National Housing Project", proportionately with the level of destruction to residential homes.
Statistics show there are still about 17,000 damaged homes in the province, he said.