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While central and southern Iraq are experiencing new and bloody waves of violence, the Kurdish north is in the throes of a housing boom that is demanding huge amounts of cheap unskilled labor. This demand is met by poor Kurds from remote villages as well as Arabs and Yezidis who’ve fled the violence in the south. The workers live in cheap hotels sleeping on the floors or roofs if there aren’t enough beds. In summer, some workers sleep in the nearby parks. The work is back-breaking and the pay is minimal, but while the housing bubble inflates, there is plenty of work for those poor enough to do it.

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