Qatari authorities have evicted hundreds of migrant workers from buildings in central Doha amid preparations for the FIFA World Cup, residents and workers said on Saturday.

City workers and agents arrived Wednesday evening to clean and close a dozen buildings, just over three weeks before the World Cup begins on November 20, residents said.

Uninhabitable buildings, really?

The affected area, largely located in the Al-Mansoura district, has been redeveloped in recent years and some World Cup fans will be staying there.

According to a government spokesperson, the buildings were "uninhabitable".

He added that authorities had acted under a 2010 law against "informal housing".

Notice has been given to the occupants and "the authorities are still ensuring that people are relocated to a safe and appropriate place", according to the same source.

Younes, a Bangladeshi driver, met there Saturday morning three nights after being evicted from his accommodation, explained that he slept in the back of his pick-up in a neighborhood street.

Workers who did not have a lease 

The South Asian boss of a 24-hour store in Al Mansoura who witnessed evictions from two buildings said most workers were not paying rent and had no leases.

Migrants - mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines and African countries such as Kenya and Uganda - make up more than 80% of Qatar's 2.8 million people.

Qatar has been criticized for the deaths, injuries and unpaid wages of workers working in the construction sites of the world.

But international unions say there has been a drastic improvement in conditions in recent years.


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