Despite the growing concern showed by various segments of Iraqi people over the water crisis and the environmental disaster that plagued the oil-rich Basra province, observes pointed to the Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s inaction to end the disastrous crises in the province.
They also confirmed that Al-Abadi’s office hasn’t yet issued any statements regarding the water crisis in Basra and finding ways to alleviate it.
Observers believe that al-Abadi’s silence indicates the difficulty of taking urgent action to solve the aggravating problems of infrastructure and contaminated water in the southern Iraqi province of Basra.
They also confirmed that the current cutthroat contest between al-Abadi and his other rival candidates over the formation of the largest parliamentary bloc has links to the current crisis witnessed by Iraq.
Campaign to save Basra
The lacks of services and water crisis in Basra have been echoed in most Iraqi provinces. Activists in the western province of Anbar launched Qatra to Basra "A drop to Basra" campaign, in addition to similar ones in Mosul city.
Former soccer star Ahmed Rady has joined the campaign, saying on his Facebook page "I give my voice to the founders of Qatra to Basra campaign until clean drinking water reaches out to our families in Basra”.
Recent videos and photos went viral on social media showing dozens of poisoned patients in hospitals due to contamination of drinking water.
This has prompted activists to launch "Save Basra" campaign, which coincided with a wave of protests that have been taking place for weeks, expected to escalate after Adha Eid holiday into sit-ins and civil disobedience.
Basra Health Department confirmed that drinking water in
over 70 percent of areas is polluted and unfit for human consumption.
"Service crisis in Basra has prolonged and been deepened, so I call on the members of 'Crisis Cell' to go to Basra province, follow up on their sufferings and find necessary solutions, Nouri Al-Maliki said on a tweet on Saturday.
Representative of High Religious Authority Ali al-Sistani
dedicated Friday’s sermon to criticize the Iraqi government for failing to
solve Basra's water problem.
"The human, patriotic and religious duties call on the authorities and relevant institutions to work together to put an end to the sufferings of the people of Basra," Abdul Mahdi Karbalai said.
The Representative called on the government to find a lasting solution for this water contamination problem.
Earlier in July, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Basra accompanied by a large number of ministers, after several protests erupted in the city.
Abadi promised to meet all demands, however, Eidani complained in a statement that the city has been demanding in vain the federal government to transfer money to establish desalination stations.
Basra’s Human Rights Commission also warned that the conditions of the province are "dangerous" due to high salinity and increased pollution, accusing the federal government of not acting accordingly.
The Commission asked the government to declare Basra a “disaster area”.
More 4,000 people have been admitted to the city's four main hospitals in the space of a week, according to local reports. Common symptoms included diarrhea and vomiting
"This is the result of negligence and corruption by the country's political elites - it can be described as 'state terrorism'," said Khalid Ali, a resident of Basra.
Basra has the largest oil supply in Iraq, as oil experts indicate that it owns 15 out of 77 fields in the country, including 10 producing fields awaiting development. These fields can produce more than 65 billion barrels, about 59 percent of Iraq's oil reserves.