Why Iraq's great rivers are dying

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Why Iraq's great rivers are dying 5
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And the timing couldn't be worse.


Iraq gets almost all of its water from two rivers: The Tigris and the Euphrates. Both begin in Turkey and make their way down the entire length of the country, before emptying into the Persian Gulf. The problem is - they are drying up.

There are two main reasons for this. The first is geographical: Since both rivers begin in Turkey, Iraq doesn’t have control of how much water it receives. In the last 30 years, Turkey, Syria, and Iran have been building hundreds of dams along both rivers. Now only a quarter of the Euphrates reaches Iraq. Secondly, Iraq has been stuck in conflict for the last 16 years. In each case, the delicate network of treatment plants, dams, canals, and pipes has been repeatedly destroyed and neglected.

All of this has boiled over in the city of Basra - at Iraq’s southern tip. Last summer, after hundreds were poisoned by the water - riots erupted and were deeply destabilizing for the new Iraqi government. If Iraq is to rebuild, it needs to get fresh water to its people - a challenge that is getting harder every year.





💬 Comments on the video
Author

Thank you for watching today's Vox Atlas! I wanted to leave a note about our process since so many of you have asked. First of all, yes, Atlas takes a TON of research and reporting. Thankfully I have a talented team of journalists beside me to make it all possible.


The most important part of our process is finding the right story. Not every story can be a video and not every video can be a map-video. I'm always looking for two things in a story: 1) is there a specific, narrow story that I can map? 2) If so, can I use that story to give the viewer a wider understanding of a country or region?


Finding those stories takes a lot of reading and talking to people who live and work in these places. Then we also need to find data to build our visualizations. That means mining tons of studies and reports for maps; but also charts and tables can we can turn into a map.



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-Sam

Author — Vox

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That's upsetting. These rivers are so important to human history!

Author — Roll0112358

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I am from Basra and this video shattered my heart even more ....
But I will always have hope for a better future.

Author — Mohamed Qasim

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im from Iraq, this video is like bullets hitting my body every second, really painful
one day we will rebuild back the great land of Mesopotamia and everyone will be welcome to come and experience our hospitality.

Author — Psycho Active

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Iraq : I want water
America : Shut up, you want a democracy

Author — Mr. Sajjad

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The US military destroyed Iraq totally and then they just left. They can blame corruption for the failure of reconstruction, but Iraq people are suffering.

Author — Z. Zhengzhou

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Mesopotamia is literally the first thing you learn about in ancient civilisation. The Tigris and Euphrates drying up cannot be tolerated

Author — Iyad Naseer

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the US is that one kid who would bring all the books down from a library shelf and leave

Author — るなめりあ

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Who needs fresh drinking water when you have democracy

Author — Younan Younan

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"If your enemies are united, divide them"
-Sun Tzu

Author — Richard Jay Fuentes

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the USA should pay for the reparation of Iraq

Author — Keyan cent

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As an Iraqi, I really appreciated you guys covering this crisis. MORE people need to know about this.

Author — universe36

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An Iraqi born in Baghdad

My house was a mile away from the Tigris river

I feel broken watching this...

Author — Naruru - Art Dump Station

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Im from Iraq 🇮🇶/Basra city 🌃 and this video is so true ... and it hurts to see the country of first civilization like this cuz of government and people themselves too... I would say thank you a lot for this video vox salute❤️🇮🇶

Author — MSA 4 IT

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FYI: Iraq never had any nuclear weapons to begin with, the reality is they used Iraq as a cure for Vietnam fever.

Author — SameerSlash

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As a giant history *enthusiast*, it’s really sad to see that two rivers that are so important to so much of human history are drying up.

Edit: Hey y’all, please be nice to each other. All of us are human, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or anything else. Much love to all of you ❤️
Edit 2: changed “nerd” to “enthusiast” because *apparently* a lot of people seem to be really sensitive about the use of that word. 🙃

Author — Jess The Hot Mess

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The US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent state of chaos allowed ISIS to develop and thrive.

Author — ExMachina SC2

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You are reporting with details about iraq and other countries just like you've lived there for entire of your life time !!
Great job
An iraqi citizen..

Author — A H

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8:33 Mistranslation. He said, “why is this happening to us, we’re poor/innocent we never did anything wrong” then the normal translation in the video continues after.

Author — Thunder Emblem

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When Saddam was alive he ensured his people had water and the other countries didn't mess with him and they say he was evil

Author — Albert Misati