Government to Redevelop Sadr Township in Baghdad

The government has drawn up plans to build 30,000 housing units in the low-income neighborhood of Sadr City, a slum area where more than 2 million people live.

The city was formerly known as al-Thawra or Revolution but was renamed for Sadr, a senior Shiite cleric whose mysterious death the country’s Shiite Muslims blame on former leader Saddam Hussein. The cleric had a large following in the city. So does his son, Moqtada al-Sadr and his military wing, the armed militia known as Mahdi Army.

The city is among the poorest areas in Iraq and the most densely populated.

Public services for the township are the responsibility of Baghdad Mayoralty. A mayoralty source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said housing was a top priority.

“The designs for a 30,000-housing unit project are ready and work is to start in 2010,” the source said.

He said families living in old slum quarters will have priority in getting the flats. “The project is the first phase of several others,” he added.

Meantime, the source said the mayoralty has several other development projects for Baghdad in 2010.

The projects include, among other things, the reconstruction of the old Rasheed Street, Baghdad’s main thoroughfare, as well other ancient monuments and sites.

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