Nineveh Governorate, Iraq, 19 May 2020 – Construction work has resumed work on a UN-Habitat project with UNDP to rehabilitate war damaged houses in two cities in northern Iraq with precautions to minimize COVID-19 risks.
Work in Mosul and Sinjar restarted in April resulting in 46 houses being handed over to owners and tenants, providing safer and improved housing for over 270 people. Work on 86 houses has been completed so far in a first phase of a larger rehabilitation of 490 housing units occupied by internally displaced people, refugees and host community members.
UN-Habitat’s contractors use skilled and unskilled workers from the local communities providing employment for 80 labourers to support their families, which is particularly important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
UN-Habitat’s field engineers ensure that contractors use safety and hygiene procedures and follow the new guidelines developed by UN-Habitat Iraq on how to manage COVID-19 risks on UN-Habitat construction and field sites, based on WHO health instructions.
Khaled Salem Ali, a 51 years-old skilled construction worker from Mosul, who struggled to support his family with seven children during lockdown, finally has an income again.
“There was no work during curfew. It was a very difficult period, which I hope will never happen again. I am happy with work now, and I hope that reconstruction in the city will continue,” said Khaled.
“In the beginning wearing face masks during work was causing discomfort, but we are all used to it now because it is important to protect ourselves and our families,” he added.
The work is part of the programme “Strengthening the Long-Term Resilience of Subnational Authorities in countries affected by the Syrian and Iraqi Crises” funded by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis or the ‘Madad Fund’. It is implemented by UN-Habitat in partnership with UNDP.