Villages, farmers in Garmian suffering through severe drought: official

A dry river bed north of Kalar in the Garmian administration as seen on July 10, 2021. (NRT Digital Media/Winthrop Rodgers)

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SULAIMANI — The ongoing drought in the Kurdistan Region has negatively affected at least 30 villages and more than 4,000 farmers in the Garmian administration, a local official said on Monday (July 19).

Caused by a lack of rain this winter and upstream damming in Iran and Turkey, the drought is having an impact across the Kurdistan Region, but Garmian is especially vulnerable because of its hot and dry climate.

Located south of Sulaimani city, the area’s main water source is the Sirwan River, also known as the Diyala River, which runs from Darbandikhan south to below Baghdad, where it empties into the Tigris River.

Of the 400 villages in Garmian, 30 are currently suffering from lack of water, Deputy Head of the Garmian Administration Srwa Muhammed told a local media outlet, adding that the number of affected villages is expected to increase to 60 in the coming weeks.

As a result, there is now a limited amount of water available for drinking, irrigation, and watering livestock.

She added that the 2.5 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.7 million) allocated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to address the drought is a stopgap measure designed to tackle the drinking water problem only.

On Sunday, the KRG Ministry of Agriculture said that it will allocate more than 13 billion Iraqi dinars ($9 million) for the completion of several small dams in the Kurdistan Region as part of the efforts to confront the drought over the long term.

(NRT Digital Media)