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Divided Syrian town parched by water shortages

By Rudaw 4/6/2018
Vendors deliver water to Hasaka residents. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Water shortages in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasaka have blighted the predominantly Kurdish population for four years. 

Hasaka, which is located in the northeasternmost governorate in Syria, some 58 kilometers from the Iraqi border, needs 1,200,000 tanks of water every day, but is currently provided with just 350,000 tanks. 

“Regarding water, we have divided the city into four parts. We provide it to one part each day. Hasaka needs 100,000-110,000 square meters of water every day. We can only provide 70,000-80,000 of this amount,” Kawa Khalaf, the head of the Rojavan authority’s water directorate, told Rudaw. 

Liberated from ISIS in February 2015, the city is governed by two authorities – the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and, in small pockets, the Syrian regime. Neither seems able to provide sufficient water to their respective populations. 

“They provide it once every four days. When they do, it is interrupted ten times. Our line is 15 meters away from the house. We have dug a pit there. We transfer the water closer to us via hoses in order to fill these water tanks. Their water is polluted and not fit for drinking. We suffer from a lack of water,” Hasaka resident Nura Shamo told Rudaw.

Due to a fall in water reserves in Hasaka, a water pipe has been built to import water from Sari Kani. Vendors sell tanks of water to residents for 200 Syrian pounds ($0.39).

“We come here every day and distribute water. We give it to neighborhoods and camps. I personally work in Line 47 and its surroundings. Water is good but the electricity sometimes cuts,” one vendor, Hussein Ali, told Rudaw.

Similar water shortages are impacting parts of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as climate change and dam projects in neighboring Turkey and Iran slow the flow of rivers into the territory. 

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What You Say

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