More than a third of Romania’s houses ‘in urgent need of repair’

A study by the World Bank has found that 35% of Romania’s 8.5 million housing units are in a state of deterioration and require urgent repair.

The claim was made by Ashna Mathema, an urban development specialist with the bank, and reported by news site Romania Insider. She told a conference in Bucharest that 55% of the housing inventory in Romania was built before 1970, and much of it had not been maintained properly.

Mathema added that more than 2,500 residential blocks in Bucharest were unstable, and were vulnerable to an earthquake – a serious concern given that this is the most seismically unstable capital in Europe. 

A Bucharest housing block under construction in 1964 (Plumpy/Wikimedia Commons)

She wrote in a World Bank blog on housing in the former Communist regions of eastern and central Europe, the Caucasus and central Asia: "Of particular concern in these countries are pre-1990s mass-produced, prefabricated, multi-family residential buildings which constitute a significant percentage of the housing stock.

"The poor quality of these buildings was tragically illustrated in the 1988 Armenia earthquake, when many of them collapsed – significantly contributing to the nearly 50,000 fatalities and 130,000 injuries."

The report also points out that housing conditions for a large segment of vulnerable groups in Romania are inadequate, and that government assistance has failed to significantly improve their position.

Romania has the most "severe housing deprivation" in the EU, and also has the highest rate of overcrowding – 48% according to the EU statistics.

Top image: Apartment buildings in Bucharest’s Titan district (Wikimedia Commons)

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