China to help Maldives build 1,500 homes
Updated: 2014-09-16 07:01
By China Daily(China Daily USA)
Second phase of construction project will be spread across nine coral islands
President Xi Jinping and his Maldivian counterpart, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, jointly unveiled a housing project in the Maldives on Monday in which Chinese companies will participate.
The project, which the Maldivian media called the second phase of the Maldives Housing Project, will have 1,500 apartments on nine islands, according to a report published on xinhuanet.com.
Maldivian news website haveeru.com.mv reported that the project will "be financed through concessional loan financing by the Chinese government, and implemented by the China Machinery Engineering Corp".
The Chinese company has participated in the project's first phase - 56 four-story buildings with 1,000 housing units. It was built on 39,600 square meters on the Maldives' second-largest island, Hulhumale, 20 minutes away by ferry from Male, the capital.
According to xinhuanet.com, the buildings provide housing to nearly 7,000 Maldivians.
A local resident who only gave his name as Hussein was quoted as saying that his family felt lucky to get the apartment.
The five family members used to be crowded together in a 30-square-meter room before they moved into a 73-square-meter apartment with three bedrooms and a living room.
"Because it was built by the Chinese, we call it 'Chinatown'," Hussein said.
The newly built apartments are said to have helped greatly to reduce the housing pressure in Male.
Male is one of the most crowded cities in the world, with 100,000 people - a third of the country's population - on only 1.87 square km.
Miadhu Daily, a leading Maldives newspaper, reported that the housing projects undertaken with Chinese assistance are of particular significance and attest to the deep affection and close friendship between the peoples of China and the Maldives.
Liu Jingwen, a project manager with China Machinery Engineering Corp who participated in the construction of the project's first phase, said Chinese construction workers have faced many difficulties during the construction, including high temperatures usually at 40 degrees C, damp heat, an inadequate supply of vegetables, infrequent recreational activities and homesickness.
"But most of us felt it was worth it when we found Maldivians like the houses we built and named them Chinatown," he said.
Wang Xu contributed to this story.
A man walks past a billboard bearing portraits of President Xi Jinping and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, ahead of Xi's visit to Sri Lanka, in the capital Colombo on Monday. Photo By Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / Agence France-Presse
(China Daily USA 09/16/2014 page4)