Climate change affects arable land in Nineveh - in pictures

Potential economic disaster for the "Fertile Crescent" in Iraq

A tractor is parked near a scarecrow on the outskirts of Tel Keppe in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh.

For centuries, the province's "Fertile Crescent" was the bread basket of Iraq.

But experts have warned that a dry spell, compounded by climate change, is threatening social and economic disaster in the war-scarred country.

Wheat farmer Khamis Ahmad Abbas lost it all when his battle with drought forced him to abandon his land, pushing him into unemployment.

Nineveh has 6,000 square kilometres of arable land. This year production plunged to 89,000 tonnes because of the drought.

A farmer checks soil compacted by drought. Its severity has forced many farming families to leave their land and seek a living in urban areas.

The exodus to urban centres such as Mosul, Kirkuk and Basra could spark "instability" because they are ill-prepared for the influx, said Roger Guiu, director of the Iraq-based Social Inquiry research centre.

Experts have warned that record low rainfall, compounded by climate change, are threatening social and economic disaster in war-scarred Iraq.

A farmer works on a parcel of agricultural land, on the outskirts of Tel Keppe. According to the International Organisation for Migration, 447 families who were forced from their land in Nineveh by Islamic State and then returned to it after the jihadists' defeat were forced to leave again between June and July this year because of the drought.

Updated: November 22nd 2021, 7:25 AM