Fires spread to 15 new locations in Iraq's Nineveh, including Mosul
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Wildfires erupted in fifteen different locations in Nineveh Province on Friday, adding to over 30,000 acres of farmland that have been destroyed in Iraq in the past month.
According to a security source who spoke to Kurdistan 24, the new fires were largely in the areas of Adan, Salam, Binouk, Gogjale, Zahra, and Sadeq, and have reached the outskirts of the city of Mosul as well.
“Fire continues to spread in the north and south of Mosul city,” he added, requesting that civilians do what they can to assist civil defense teams attempting to control the blazes.
Seven have died and another 20 suffered injuries over the past week while fighting the fires in Nineveh. Local media reported that at least five of the casualties were members of civil defense units.
Related Article: Seven dead, 20 injured in Nineveh in a week as wildfire incidents continue
On Thursday, the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad voted to create a new committee tasked with compensating farmers whose crops have been consumed.
Lawmaker Jamal Shukur told reporters, “The decision was passed after the majority of parliament members voted on the act, forming a committee to assess the damages and compensated accordingly.”
Members of the new body will include representatives from the provinces affected by the fires and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Last week, the Independent High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq submitted an urgent appeal, calling on the federal government to act, specifically in regard to Nineveh. The commission warned that the flames would impact future food supplies in Iraq as well as the livelihood of farmers who depend on their crops as a primary source of income.
It also highlighted the Nineveh Civil Defense’s lack of proper equipment and low quantity of firetrucks available to handle the intense flames.
Similar fires have also engulfed farmland in northeast Syria, straining civil defense teams there, as well.
On Wednesday, the White Helmets rescue organization in Syria offered to help with firefighting efforts in the country and made a public request “to open safe corridors" that would allow them safe passage to travel to the affected areas, but a representative of the political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in control of those areas, flatly rejected the offer.
Related Article: Kurds say White Helmets not welcome to help fight fires in northeast Syria
“We have full confidence in the abilities of our security and emergency services to handle any and all urgent issues in North East Syria,” she told Kurdistan 24.
“We are not in need of the White Helmets’ services. They are welcome in many other parts of Syria where they are more needed.”
Editing by John J. Catherine