Desertification forces displacement in Iraq amid severe climate change impact

Environmental phenomena, worsening annually, pose a major threat to Iraq's future, leading to the displacement of residents in the southern and central regions in Iraq.
The scientists warned that 'long-lasting severe droughts like these are no longer rare events. (Photo: Asaad NIAZI/AFP)
The scientists warned that 'long-lasting severe droughts like these are no longer rare events. (Photo: Asaad NIAZI/AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Desertification is causing significant displacement in central and southern Iraq, with the United Nations identifying Iraq as one of the countries most severely affected by climate change.

Environmental phenomena, worsening annually, pose a major threat to Iraq's future, leading to the displacement of residents in the southern and central regions.

According to the United Nations, Iraq loses 404 square kilometers of agricultural land each year due to climate change.

The Norwegian Refugee Council reports that around 60 percent of farmers in Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahaddin, and Anbar provinces have been forced to farm smaller areas with less water.

Water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers have decreased by approximately 30% to 40%, while salinity levels have increased. As of September last year, about 130,788 people had been displaced by drought in 12 Iraqi provinces.

Iraq has around 670 kilometers of desert, which accounts for more than 38% of the country's territory.

Factors contributing to the increased desertification include random deforestation, expansion of settlement areas, population growth, reduction in vegetation cover, intensive agriculture, and water scarcity.