Syria and Iraq facing severe drought

Climate change and conflict are driving a humanitarian emergency that threatens 12 million people. Sharmila Devi reports.


Severe drought and water scarcity are threatening the health and security of more than 12 million people across Syria and Iraq, say, humanitarian groups, which also warn of a severe shortfall of donor funding.


The water crisis is causing a complex cascade of risks to people. The effects include severe shortages of water for drinking, hygiene, agriculture, and electricity as dams run out of water, with attendant threats to health and livelihoods.


Waterborne diseases are increasing as sanitation is increasingly compromised, with diarrhea, scabies, and malnutrition rising in both Syria and Iraq, say aid agencies. “Conflict and migration could also be a longer-term consequence of water destabilization and no one is spared in this crisis”, Nirvana Shawky, the Middle East and North Africa regional director for the humanitarian non-governmental organization CARE International, told The Lancet.
 


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