Inside Qatar’s incredible £40BILLION megacity project with curved skyscraper & manmade islands – but with a dark secret
QATAR has spent at least £185BILLION preparing the country to host the World Cup – and much of that has been spent on the city of Lusail.
Being the second largest city in the Gulf State with a population of around 200,000 people, Lusail has seen billions of pounds ploughed into it – turning it into a the “city of the future”.
With an crescent moon skyscraper hotel, huge man-made islands, whole districts wired for climate control, and a brand new stadium – the city is a key part of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The £40billion project has seen the 14-square mile patch of land converted into what the Qataris hope will be a paradise on the Gulf.
And he city will host its first World Cup game on Tuesday with a clash between Argentina and Saudi Arabia.
Behind all the glitzy buildings and high-tech systems however there are fears the city – like many infrastructure projects in Qatar – harbours a dark secret.
It is feared such rapid developments have been built on the suffering of thousands of migrant workers – something Qatar denies.
Human rights groups estimate more than 6,500 workers have died in Qatar since they won the World Cup.
Qatar has a two million strong migrant workforce – and many of them have been said to work for low pay in sweltering conditions.
And many of them may have been responsible for creating the metropolis which will host ten games during the World Cup – including the final on December 18.
Qatar denies mistreatment of migrant workers and says it is proactively working to improve standards.
Once completed, it is hoped Lusail will have a theme park, a lagoon, two marinas, two golf courses, 22 hotels along with luxury shopping and commercial districts.
Sprawling around the the West Bay Lagoon, the city is 14 miles north of Doha and is hoped to oneday have infrastructure to support 450,000 people.
Incredible earthworks have seen four man made islands spring up the city which was essentially built from scratch.
The Lusail Iconic Stadium has capacity for 80,000 people.
And the city hosted Qatar’s first Formula 1 race last year when Lewis Hamilton won the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix.
But one of the most recognisable parts of the city is the crescent moon hotel complex, the Katara Towers.
It is 692 ft tall with 40 floors – housing two luxury hotels along with apartments, offices and shops.
And while the city is an incredible complex, it is feared to be built of the backs of poorly paid migrant workers.
Construction workers helping to build stadiums are reported to have been paid less than £1 an hour.
As FIFA prepares to rake in billions in revenue from sponsors and broadcasters, many migrant worker families still mourn the death of their loved ones
Human Rights Watch
And some are said to have died as they worked in the blazing heat of Qatar.
Human Rights Watch compiled a report which details how migrant workers are allegedly exploited using the “kafala system”.
Workers mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Philippines find themselves in a form of “forced labour”.
The kafala system ties workers visas to a sponsorship by their employer – who is responsible for their legal status.
Migrants can end have to pay up to £2,200 just to secure a job.
And this is something that can lead to them emptying their savings or selling what little assets they have, only to them find themselves trapped in low paying jobs.
Kafala rules then mean the workers can’t even leave – with many being reported to have “absconded” by their employers, which is a criminal offense in Qatar.
Human Rights Watch have said the kafala system as “at the heart” of all abuses of migrant workers working ahead of the World Cup.
“[Our] research has shown that abusive legislation and policies, the time pressure, and attempts to contain the exorbitant costs, have resulted in abuses against migrant workers, including work in life-threatening conditions, low wages or illegal recruitment fees,” the group said in a submission this week to the European Parliament.
“As FIFA prepares to rake in billions in revenue from sponsors and broadcasters, many migrant worker families still mourn the death of their loved ones and struggle to feed their children or pay off loans their loved ones took out to pay illegal World Cup recruitment fees.”