Iraq has approved the construction of 17 residential cities in various areas as part of plans to tackle a persistent housing crisis, an official was quoted on Friday as saying. 

The Planning Ministry is overseeing the projects in the capital Baghdad, the Southern Basra City, Najaf in Central Iraq Kirkuk in the Northern and other areas, Ministry spokesman Abdul Zahrah Al-Hindawi said. 

He told Aliqtisad News network that Iraq needs at least three million houses in the next five years to resolve the housing crisis, what was aggravated by the war. 

“There are 119 projects that comprise 17 residential cities and housing complexes across Iraq…these projects will largely contribute to tacking the housing crisis,” he said. 

He added that some of those cities have been launched while others await budget allocations before they are awarded. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)