Climate change forces 75,000 people in southern Iraq to flee

A motorcyclist rides along side the garbage floating on water canal running from the Euphrates River in Karbala, Iraq September 23, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Climate change forced the population of three governorates in southern Iraq to flee to urban areas due to extreme drought.  

According to a report released by the United Nations coordination bureau, climate change and drought have forced half of the population from Basra, Maysan, and Dhi-Qar to cede agriculture and migrate to the urban areas.

“So far 75,000 people have migrated from these governorates due to the effects of climate change as well as desertification,” the bureau’s report said.

“Among the 75,000, %8 are from Basra, %3 from Dhi-Qar, and %13 from Maysan,” the report said

“They ceded agriculture and farming, instead the climate change has compelled them to migrate to the cities and became government employees” it added.

Iraq suffers an extreme drought for the third year in a row due to low rainfalls, the country is classified as one of the world’s five countries most vulnerable to climate change and desertification, and it also witnesses water shortages in many areas.

The country’s agriculture sector, dependent largely on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, has also suffered from drought and rising heat. Iraq’s 2020-2021 rainfall season was the second driest in 40 years, according to the United Nations.

Despite the concerns about environmental issues among the locals, political instability inside the country has worsened the situation twice.

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