HomeTop StoriesUN sounds alarm over heat threat to Iraq's legendary swampland

UN sounds alarm over heat threat to Iraq’s legendary swampland

The largely arid Iraq is ranked by the UN as one of the world’s five countries most affected by certain impacts of climate change (Asaad NIAZI)

Southern Iraq’s legendary swampland is suffering its worst heat wave in the past 40 years, the United Nations warned Monday, reporting a drastic drop in water levels.

The largely arid Iraq is ranked by the UN as one of the five countries in the world most affected by certain climate change impacts, and authorities there say the country is experiencing its fourth consecutive year of drought.

Iraq endures blistering summer heat and frequent dust storms, and declining rainfall and upstream dams have reduced the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement it was “deeply concerned about the serious impacts of climate change and water scarcity on the swamps and buffalo producers of southern Iraq”.

The UN agency cited “alarming field reports” from its staff working with the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture.

See also  Suspect in fatal double shooting in Delaware city arrested less than 10 miles away

The FAO statement said reports “indicate that the swamps are experiencing the most severe heat wave in the past 40 years, accompanied by a sudden water shortage in the Euphrates River”.

“The dire situation is having a devastating impact on the wetland system, buffalo producers, farmers and fisheries, forcing many of them” to leave the area, it added.

The FAO said that in Chibayish, located in Dhi Qar province, “the water level of the Euphrates is only 56 centimeters (22 inches), and in the swamps from zero to 30 centimeters”.

It found a high salinity of more than 6,000 parts per million, which has raised concerns among farmers, particularly buffalo herders and fishermen.

The statement cites official figures showing that “nearly 70 percent of swamps are devoid of water”.

In a vivid illustration of the problem, an AFP journalist saw thousands of fish washed up on the banks of the Amshan River in Majar al-Kabir, Maysan province, bordering Iran, early this month.

See also  Coca price crash contributes to food insecurity in Colombia - UN

This region is known for its wetlands fed by the Tigris River.

Environmental activist Ahmed Saleh Neema said “an increase in temperature” led to increased evaporation, coupled with reduced water flow, contributing to “a lack of oxygen and high salinity” in the river.


- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments