By Shaghayegh Rostampour for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
A mother covers her daughter’s mouth and nose with her headscarf as they rush through the heavy smog that blankets a crowded street. She stops to cough, but then continues to walk while covering her own mouth with her free hand. Maryam and her daughter Mina are not the only ones struggling with the air in this southwestern Iranian city.
For over two months, Ahvaz and its people have been choked by fires engulfing the Hawizeh Marshes that straddle the border with Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of the marshes are located in Iraq, with the rest not far from Ahvaz.
In mid-August, the governor of the town of Hawizeh, west of Ahvaz, said fumes and the smoke from flames originating on the Iraqi side of the marshes have sent over 250 people to the hospital. Things are not looking any better on the Iranian side of the border.
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Since late June, media has reported on wildfires in northern parts of Iraqi Kurdistan among the border with Turkey, along the border with Iran in the northeast and in the southeast of Iraq at the Hawizeh marshes, bordering Iran.
A hazardous cocktail of climate change-induced increased summer heat, water shortages, military shelling of various armed groups operating in these areas combined with random human errors and spontaneous outbreaks left the earth scorched.
This blog will provide a short open-source based overview based on media reporting on various locations in Iraq combined with the use of satellite imagery provided by the European Space Agencies’ Sentinel-2, NASA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) suite and commercial imagery provided with by Planet Labs.
Read full report from Bellingcat.
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