Ten thousand families live under tents or live in ad hoc huts, shacks and hovels across Iran, the Statistical Center of the Islamic Republic announced in a report published on Tuesday, March 20.
According to the report, families living in urban areas produce 175,000 tons of waste on average, every week.
The state-run Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) has cited the report as saying, 18,12 million families live in 17,68 million residential units (8,13 million apartments, 9,97 million in houses and 10,000 in huts, hovels, shacks and cabins) in urban areas in Iran.
The new report reflects residential situation in 2016; while the problem of people living on the margins of urban areas across the country has been aggravated in recent years and turned into a challenge threatening the whole society.
The problem has been so ominous that the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the three branches of the state to address it.
However, almost a year ago, the head of Social Workers Association of the Islamic Republic, Hassan Mousavi Chelak admitted that ten to eleven million people live in “unregistered” residences in outskirts of the cities in Iran.
The statistics so far presented on the number of people living in shacks and under tents on the squalid margins of the cities widely differ with each other in Iran. However, it appears that between eleven to sixteen million people in Iran are currently living in huts and hovels or under tents in squalid suburban areas.
Furthermore, in 2015, the deputy director of the Islamic Republic’s Welfare Organization, Habibollah Masoudi Farid disclosed that there are more than 850 “slum cities” across the country. These squalid slums are deprived of all urban services. Residents of these slums are most vulnerable people for not having access to most basic sanitation and health facilities as well as social services. Children in these slums are particularly exposed to diseases and suffer from lack of education and proper housing.
According to Tehran’s reformist MP and member of the parliament’s Social Commission, Alireza Mahjoub, Iran's slum population has increased seventeen times in thirty years.
Mahjoub has also admitted that the slum population in Iran is still on the rise.
He noted that the problem is a result of poor economic conditions forcing people to move to the outskirts of the urban areas, looking for jobs and seeking residence in squalid suburban slums.
Tehran’s representative to the parliament asserted that no organization has made any plans to tackle the problem, so far.