IN PICTURES: Angry protests erupt across Iraq’s Basra over waterborne illnesses
Popular protests erupted in Basra on Thursday night due to waterborne illnesses resulting from the contaminated water across the governorate and the lack of clean drinking water.
Protestors cut the Baghdad-Basra road by setting a fire to prevent cars from heading towards Basra.
According to local sources, roads were blocked and tires were burnt in Garmat Ali, Al-Tahseenya and Al-Abbasiya.
Protestor Hassenien al-Moussawi told Al Arabiya English that the situation in Basra has become unbearable.
“As temperatures increase, we can no longer provide enough drinking water to all houses. The hospitals and health centers’ capacity is no longer enough to receive all patients,” he said, adding that there is also shortage in medicine.
“The medics at the hospitals in Basra are hysterical due to the pressure. Instead of announcing general alert, the local government has announced today a day off across the governorate,” Moussawi said.
The Iraqi Human Rights Commission said on Wednesday that around 1,200 people were heading to hospitals each day to be treated for poisoning, adding that the number of those who have suffered from waterborne illnesses in the past two weeks has reached 18,000.
According to Basra’s Water Department, the poisonous algae in water projects that provide water to more than half of Basra were detected, and water was cut off from all houses until the situation is resolved.
Activists in Basra have launched campaigns on social media networks calling on people to take to the streets to participate in protests against the local government, and also called for declaring a revolution against corruption.