Iraq has approved plans to build a new city in the central Babil Governorate while another project comprising nearly 700 houses is under way, the official Alsabah newspaper has reported. 

The projects are intended to tackle a persistent housing crisis in the province, which needs at least 115,000 housing units, the paper said, quoting Mohammed Zakam, Chairman of Babil Investment Commission. 

“We have started constructing a complex comprising nearly 700 houses in Kafal area as part of plans to tackle a housing gap in the Governorate,” Zakam said, adding that the project would cost nearly 32 billion Iraqi dinars ($22 million). 

Zakam said there are plans for 11 other housing projects in the province, including a new city in Hillah area. 

“We have started procedures for Hillah city….it is one of the major projects that will support plans to bridge a housing gap,” he said without providing details of the project. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)