Aid & Development

Iraq: The human and environmental impact of the floods in Maysan

Iraq

Local residents in Maysan have been morally and materially devastated by the consequences of the heavy flooding in the region.

In Iraq’s eastern Maysan Province, the flooding that has resulted from the heavy rains has taken a significant toll on the citizens living there. Residents of the Haddam area in the Maimouna District west of the province’s capital Amara, say that the rising water levels in Baghdad, and Wasit, has resulted in their homes being flooded and their crops damaged.

“Our conditions are very difficult in the Haddam areas. We have lost our crops,” said an elderly man from Haddam.

This year, winter brought along heavy clouds, resulting in the rise of water levels across the country.

In Baghdad, the height of the Tigris river has reached its pinnacle with many low-altitude places facing the risk of flooding. Furthermore, as a result of the uncontrolled water flow, the Batera and Areed tributaries of the Tigris river, which discharge into Maysan Province, have received massive amounts of water that eventually flooded the Maimouna District.

“The situation is tragic, and areas are seriously affected by the unprecedented rise in water. Also, the Tigris River runs into the Batera and Areed rivers, which caused this humanitarian catastrophe,” said Sabri Hashim, the Mayor of Maimouna District.

The flooding has affected at least 300 families in Haddam, who were forced to leave their homes and farms and seek refuge in tents far from the flooded areas.

“I built my house this year because it was destroyed, but I left everything in it and escaped. People are demanding money because I took money to rebuild it,” said one of the women forced to abandon her home.

With no mechanisms and services put in place to relieve the people during a crisis like this, hundreds of families in Maysan Province currently remain without a home, and without their farms.

Despite the destructive nature of the flood, the rising water levels is a positive development for the dams, rivers and lakes that have been at risk of drying due to intense droughts. While water management is still an issue for the Iraqi Government and local authorities, this year’s wet winter and spring guarantees that water shortages will not be an issue that the government has to face in the country’s upcoming summer season.