Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi chairs a meeting with the crisis group for Basra province on August 30, 2018, in Baghdad. Photo: GoI
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Thursday that his government has begun legal measures against those Iraqi officials "who have been indifferent in their work in Basra province after we saw the presence of an issue in the follow-up by officials.”
"These measures and other directives are to provide drinking water for Basra people," Abadi said during a meeting with Basra province’s crisis cell to discuss the province’s water crisis, according to a statement from his office on Facebook.
The special meeting followed reports of undrinkable water in Basra, resulting in the hospitalization of hundreds of people. There have been protests to pressure on the federal government to find a solution.
"We have a special fund for all water need in Basra and there is a complete plan to provide water."
He blamed some people for over-consuming water through illegal water lines, deemed a “violation of water-sharing” by Abadi, adding that these lines “shall be removed.”
Health authorities in Basra have closed down
at least 100 unlicensed water desalination stations after an outbreak of diarrhea and other symptoms among local residents.
Iraq is in a highly politicized state as Baghdad works toward forming a new government. Abadi in two cabinet meetings and weekly press conferences has said special attention would be given to Basra, which has been rocked by protests over the water issue, joblessness, and revenue sharing.