Samstag, 12.11.2022 / 09:47 Uhr

'Der Tigris stirbt'

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Als noch Wasser floss; Tigris bei Amara im Irak 2003, Bild: Thomas v. der Osten-Sacken

Nur vier weitere Länder auf der Welt sind vom Klimawandel so stark betroffen, wie der Irak, der in den letzten Jahren quasi vor aller Augen austrocknet, während im Sommer Temperaturen über 50 Grad längst zum Alltag gehören.

Wie dramatisch die Lage ist, zeigt etwa diese Reportage über einen der beiden großen Flüsse des Zweistromlandes:

An AFP video journalist traveled along the river’s 1,500-kilometre (900-mile) course through Iraq, from the rugged Kurdish north to the Gulf in the south, to document the ecological disaster that is forcing people to change their ancient way of life. (...)

According to Iraqi official statistics, the level of the Tigris entering Iraq has dropped to just 35 percent of its average over the past century. (...)

Bildquelle: Screenshot AFP


All that is left of the River Diyala, a tributary that meets the Tigris near the capital Baghdad in the central plains, are puddles of stagnant water dotting its parched bed.

Drought has dried up the watercourse that is crucial to the region’s agriculture.

This year authorities have been forced to reduce Iraq’s cultivated areas by half, meaning no crops will be grown in the badly-hit Diyala Governorate.

“We will be forced to give up farming and sell our animals,” said Abu Mehdi, 42, who wears a white djellaba robe. (...)

Water scarcity hitting farming and food security are already among the “main drivers of rural-to-urban migration” in Iraq, the UN and several non-government groups said in June. (...)

This summer in Baghdad, the level of the Tigris dropped so low that people played volleyball in the middle of the river, splashing barely waist-deep through its waters.