Almost 60 percent of Qatar’s 2.4 million population live in “labour camps”, the country’s latest census has shown, highlighting the emirate’s huge migrant workforce.
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Around 1.4 million Qatari residents live in what are officially designated as “labour camps”, according to figures from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS).
The overwhelming majority – 1.34 million – were male, the statistics found.
Since the census began, Qatar‘s population has grown further to just over 2.5 million.
The accommodation of migrant labourers working on Qatar’s numerous infrastructure projects has long been a contentious issue.
Qatar, which will host the football World Cup in 2022, and has been condemned by human rights groups – including Amnesty International – for providing “squalid and cramped accommodation” to blue collar workers, usually from the Indian subcontinent.
There have also been concerns about safety on construction camps and even in the camps themselves.
Last week, 11 people were killed and 12 injured when a fire ripped through a camp housing labourers working on a tourism project in the southwest of the country.
Qatar has responded to the criticism by building new workers’ housing complexes, including the $825 million “Labour City” south of the capital Doha, which incorporates shops, cinemas and a cricket stadium.
The complex can house up to 70,000 foreign workers and is one of seven workers’ “cities” being developed which will accommodate almost 260,000 people in total.
The population of gas-rich Qatar has soared over the past three decades as it has imported a huge migrant workforce to develop its infrastructure. In 1986, just 373,000 people lived in the emirate.
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