Iraq: The temperature reaches 50 degrees Celsius


He wants “air”, but he does not achieve much with the fan. Under the roof of her house, which is made of sheet metal, 74-year-old Um Mohammad suffocates. The temperature in Basra in southern Iraq is 45 degrees Celsius, and summer has just begun.

“For God’s sake, we are tired,” he whispers.

An unusual heatwave is hitting Iraq this June, with temperatures hovering above normal. In Baghdad, the thermometer showed 50 degrees in the shade at the beginning of the month, according to the state television network.

Due to a lack of maintenance and resources, the power grid is collapsing, leaving Iraqis with only a few hours of electricity a day. And not everyone can afford private companies, as the cost is about 100 euros per month for a family of four.

“National priority”

Iraq is facing a summer out of hell, following a spring marked by sandstorms and dust storms, which were also caused by climate change and desertification, according to meteorologists.

“As heat waves and sandstorms are expected to increase, we expect to have more patients with climate-related health problems,” said Saif al-Badr, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

Climate is changing, temperatures are rising and Iraq is at the forefront of the effects of climate change, President Barham Saleh has warned. He called for the treatment of its effects to be reduced to a “national priority because it poses an existential threat to future generations”.

In the province the crops are expected to be catastrophic. “Desertification is affecting 39% of Iraq’s territory, and water scarcity is a problem in all of our provinces,” Saleh said.

At the moment, the climate is in the background on the political agenda.

Eight months after the parliamentary elections, the Shiite parties, which have a majority in parliament, have not been able to agree on who will be the country’s prime minister. Incumbent Prime Minister Mustafa Kazimi is handling current affairs.

For Natak al-Hafaji, a resident of Nasiriyah, this means “living without electricity”. Today the temperature reaches 44 degrees Celsius. “I can still stand it, but for children and the elderly it is very difficult.”

“The heat kills us”

Although Iraq is a country rich in hydrocarbons, it is facing energy shortages. That’s why he had to turn to Iran, which supplies him with a third of the gas it needs to generate electricity.

But Baghdad owed $ 1.6 billion to Tehran, which cut off gas supplies for a few weeks in the spring. Iraq finally settled its debt in mid-June.

However, the numerous, daily power outages did not stop.

At the same time, the level of the rivers is constantly decreasing due to the reduced rainfall and the dams created by Iran and Turkey.

And that’s just the beginning. The World Bank estimates that if Iraq does not adopt appropriate policies, the country’s available water reserves could be reduced by 20% by 2050.

In Baghdad, 20-year-old Abbas Nasser works part-time in construction. Today he carries sand carts.

“The heat is killing us,” he says. He works 11 hours a day for about 20 euros. They are very few, “but he who does nothing dies of hunger.”

Abbas sometimes asks his boss to take a break, but “he refuses. He says I have to work. “


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