ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Seven individuals died and another 20 suffered injuries over the past week while they attempted to put out wildfires that have consumed farmlands across the Nineveh governorate.
The incidents took place in different parts of Nineveh, with at least five of the casualties members of the civil defense units, according to local media reports.
Colonel Hussam Khalil, the director of Nineveh’s Civil Defense, told local media that three staff members were severley burned while they were putting out fires in the al-Hamdaniya district.
“Another two were victims of an IED [improvised explosive device] left by ISIS at the crop fields in Tal Afar, injuring them during their line of duty,” Khalil added.
According to data the civil defense published, there were 44 recorded cases of wildfires in Nineveh between May 8 to June 4, which burned 11,183 acres of agricultural lands.
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Last week, the Independent High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq submitted an urgent appeal to Baghdad, calling on the federal government to act as fires continue to devastate farm fields and crops in Nineveh province.
The Commission warned that the flames would impact food supplies in Iraq as well as the livelihood of farmers who depend on their crops as a primary source of income.
The human rights commission also highlighted the Nineveh Civil Defense’s lack of proper equipment and low quantity of firetrucks available to handle the intense flames.
Over 30,730 acres of farmland have been burned in less than one month in a recent wave of fire incidents across 11 provinces in Iraq, according to data provided by the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany