Self-designed homes could provide sustainable future for liberated Mosul

A glimpse of destruction in Mosul. (AP)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Self-designed homes could provide sustainable future for liberated Mosul

LONDON: Self-designed homes based on traditional Iraqi architecture could be the solution to the drastic housing crisis facing Mosul, where hundreds of thousands are expected to return following the end of three years of Daesh occupation.
An award-winning design would see returning residents create their own neighborhoods in modules that can grow and evolve to suit their needs.
“The shape of the housing is completely up to the inhabitants,” said Ania Otlik, the winner of inaugural Rifat Chadirji Prize, which challenged architects to find a practical and sustainable solution to the Iraqi city’s housing needs.
“Having one measure that fits all is almost impossible, especially when it comes to such a diverse society ... which varies in religion, culture, background (and) family size.”
Nearly 1 million civilians fled in the three years since Daesh militants took the city, which Iraq declared liberated in July, according to the UN.
Iraqi government officials have estimated it will take at least five years and billions of dollars to rebuild Mosul.
Otlik, a graduate of Wroclaw University of Science and Technology in Poland, researched traditional Iraqi architectural designs, poring over sketches and schemes to create her housing plan.
Each dwelling is constructed around a central patio, providing outside space around which rooms and spaces can be arranged.
“The plan of the house can be a little more open when the family decides it this way, or maybe another family is strictly Islamic so they will build it in their own traditional way,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Building materials that are easy to source in the battle-scarred city — such as rubble and mud — could be used for construction until more permanent replacements become available, she said.
Otlik drew inspiration from her native Poland, whose capital Warsaw was entirely rebuilt after it was razed by Nazi troops during the Second World War.
Other finalist designs featured garden bridges over the Tigris river to provide housing and urban farms, and homes connected via a metro repurposed from a system of subterranean tunnels constructed by Islamic State to aid its fighters.
“It was not a problem finding a winner,” said Ahmed Al-Mallak, founding director of the independent Tamayouz Excellence Award, which oversaw the competition.


11 migrants dead, 263 rescued off Libya coast

Updated 23 April 2018
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11 migrants dead, 263 rescued off Libya coast

  • The dead migrants drowned when their dinghy overturned, say rescuers
  • Libya has become a key launch pad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe, often on unseaworthy vessels

TRIPOLI, Libya: At least eleven migrants died at sea and another 263 were rescued on Sunday in two separate operations off the coast of Libya, the country’s navy said.
In the first operation, “a coast guard patrol... was able to rescue 83 illegal migrants and recovered 11 bodies in a rubber boat five nautical miles northeast of Sabratha,” navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.
Sabratha is about 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Tripoli.
“The 11 dead migrants drowned when the dinghy overturned but were recovered by the survivors and hoisted into the boat,” said Mohamad Erhouma, a member of the nearby city of Zawiyah’s coast guard.
The second rescue operation took place off the coast of Zliten in the country’s east, where 180 migrants were rescued from two boats, according to General Kacem.
Zliten is about 170 kilometers (100 miles) east of Tripoli.
The migrants, of different African nationalities, “were aboard two inflatable boats when they were intercepted and then brought back to the port of Tripoli,” he said.
Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has become a key launch pad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe, often on unseaworthy vessels.
Last year alone, 3,116 people died attempting the crossing, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), including 2,833 from Libya.
The conflict-riven country is regularly singled out for the exploitation and ill-treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.