Massive demonstration in al-Budayr district demands essential services amid drought

Recently, the villages of al-Budayr district have witnessed the migration of most farmers due to the severe water scarcity that has devastated their lands.
This aerial photo shows a boat during low water levels at the Chibaish marshes in Nasiriyah of southern Iraq, Thursday, June 16, 2022. (AP Photo/ Nabil al-Jurani)
This aerial photo shows a boat during low water levels at the Chibaish marshes in Nasiriyah of southern Iraq, Thursday, June 16, 2022. (AP Photo/ Nabil al-Jurani)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Residents of al-Budayr district organized a massive demonstration to demand the restoration of services to their drought-stricken villages.

Dozens of residents from al-Budayr, located south of al-Diwaniyah, participated in the protest, with a primary focus on securing water quotas for farmers.

Abu Alaa, a local farmer, expressed the community's frustrations to Kurdistan 24. "For four years, we have been deprived of water, causing people to migrate and abandon their villages. Some villages received aid as immigrants, while others did not. All the people in the district's villages are in need of assistance. We urge the al-Diwaniyah Governorate Council to address our plight because al-Budayr is a district in name only," he said.

Farmer Ammar Al-Saadawi highlighted the severe impact of the water shortage on the community. "The al-Budayr district suffers from severe drought, leading to significant problems such as migration from the countryside to the city, increased unemployment, and a complete halt in water supply. Our orchards and farms have been decimated, and the livestock sector has collapsed due to the water shortage," he told Kurdistan 24.

A representative from the local government in al-Diwaniyah, who attended the protest, promised to relay the protesters' legitimate demands to the relevant authorities for swift action.

"There is an increase in water releases from the Ministry of Water Resources, especially in this season, but resolving the water issue will take time," said Jaafar al-Zamly, the representative of the Governor of al-Diwaniyah.

"The governorate committees are taking measures, and special committees have been allocated to follow up on this issue. Several projects were disrupted last year due to water outages and drought," he added.

Recently, the villages of al-Budayr district have witnessed the migration of most farmers due to the severe water scarcity that has devastated their lands.