Why Iraq's great rivers are dying

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  • Published: 02 July 2019
  • And the timing couldn't be worse.

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    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.

    Through Vox Atlas, producer Sam Ellis demonstrates where conflicts occur on a map and the ways in which foreign policy shapes a region. Watch all the episodes here: bit.ly/2SThVsf

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Comments • 3 187

  • Vox
    Vox   4 months back

    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

    • Ema 99f
      Ema 99f  1 months back

      I just want to add a correction information :- the gulf in south borders of Iraq is not "Persian Gulf " but actually named "Arabian Gulf"

    • Lil' Puff
      Lil' Puff  3 months back

      This is only a suggestion, but there's something going on in Canafa about BC and Alberta's pipeline and British Columbia doesn't want to continue with it.
      I'm actually a bit curious about what's going on and I believe it involves the US.

    • chausaaanglwi
      chausaaanglwi  3 months back

      All of your program, give me a knowledge about the lives in Earth 🌎 how actually living. What's actually happening around the globe. Some of dying for Water 💧 and here in Assam people's are dying from water (flood) So please 🙏 came here to make a documentary about Assam Flood, which is worsening each year.

    • حسام ال شمر
      حسام ال شمر  3 months back

      اكو عراقي هنا

    • The Tayterminator
      The Tayterminator  3 months back

      Please shine a light on Nicaragua & what Ortega is doing to his own people, the Mainstream Media is & has been ignoring Nicaragua!

      I have a lot of family & friends in Nicaragua, its where my Father's side of the family is from. Ive lived my whole life in the U.S. & ive only been to visit maybe 7 or 8 times, my Father built an Orphanage in Jinotega back in 1995-1996 & dedicated it to his mother who grew up in the small town where he built it. Last time I visited It housed over a 100 healthy children, that was at least 12-13 years ago, im sure they've added onto the building by now in order to accommodate the demand.

      I get messages from my Family members and friends down there pretty often.

      BUT! recently, they've been reaching out through facebook askIng for help to bring attention to what Daniel Ortega has been doing to the people out of fear of losing power, in a country that had been free from all of that kind of stuff for decades.

      Idk if you ever read these comments but I personally know a lot of people who would be extremely grateful if Vox could shine a light on whats happening there as the Mainstream media seems to almost avoid that Country entirely.

  • Seif Eddine
    Seif Eddine  20 hours back

    Did these problems existe under sadam ?
    Or are they a consequence of the US invasion ?

    • Cristian Szigyarto
      Cristian Szigyarto  2 days back

      God told me that without these 2 rivers that ușe to flow thru the Garden of Eden the whole ecosistem îs incomplete. He told me these rivers ballance the whole Earth.

      • Pravesh Malviya
        Pravesh Malviya  3 days back

        These videos looks like a 'Briefing' before a top secret military operation

        • Dino B.
          Dino B.  3 days back

          What about biodiversity? I'm sure humans where not the only one suffering this dramatic lack of water.

          • tipptop9
            tipptop9  3 days back

            Wow what a tragedy, Here's hoping Iraq can surmount it's difficulties and prosper again. Good luck to Iraq from Ireland

            • محمد كريم
              محمد كريم  3 days back

              الله واكبر عاش العراق ونشالله موعدنا يوم25.. 10.... 2019

              • Pokhraj Roy
                Pokhraj Roy  4 days back

                Water is important. We forget this quite often.

                • oby ybo
                  oby ybo  5 days back

                  SAD

                  • guru k
                    guru k  5 days back

                    Feel so bad for people of Iraq

                    • Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ

                      Revelation 16:12-13 King James Version (KJV)

                      12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

                      Repent and come to Jesus Christ we are at the end, He is coming

                      • C Javier
                        C Javier  1 weeks back

                        I want to cry... Tigris and Euphrates...

                        • Frankie Clayton
                          Frankie Clayton  1 weeks back

                          It's coming to pass it's in his holy word commands principles judgements covenant revelation

                          • Danish Khan
                            Danish Khan  1 weeks back

                            Usa responsible for iraqs poor ifrastucture

                            • john johnson
                              john johnson  1 weeks back

                              The US and Saudi Arabia had it all planned out to destroy Iraq -Iraq could be a thriving country like Israel it has so much historical value in history it’s actually the holy place that’s where Abraham was born!

                              • EL EL
                                EL EL  2 weeks back

                                Turkey only cares about Turkey! Iran only cares about Iran! Too many humans on earth!
                                Birth Control!

                                • Joseph Leonard
                                  Joseph Leonard  2 weeks back

                                  *Abraham left the group*

                                  • Joseph Leonard
                                    Joseph Leonard  2 weeks back

                                    when i see "Mosul" i think of Hillary Clinton

                                    • Alex Sunderland
                                      Alex Sunderland  2 weeks back

                                      Because of Iraqi corrupted government dominated by Iranian puppits and this all because of american crusade for 0 justification and they wanted oil.

                                      • Hamad Hussein
                                        Hamad Hussein  2 weeks back

                                        Another problem is that the iraqi government is not controlling north iraq anymore the kurds are there. So that Iraq cannot directly discuss it with Turkey since Kurdistan(north iraq) has access to enough water.

                                        • Hamad Hussein
                                          Hamad Hussein  2 weeks back

                                          Turkey is the worst country. They were like hoes when Saddam was ruling but after he died they began to cut off the water. And the lack of water also causes massive climate changes it gets fkn hottt

                                          • أّلَجّـحًيِّمً لَلَکْفُـرةّ

                                            يا خنازير العراق طلع بثورة للخلاص من الاحتلال الامريكي والايراني وليس من اجل الماء والكهرباء بعدما نحرره سنعيد الماء والكهرباء وكل شيء اليه

                                            • KendrixTermina
                                              KendrixTermina  2 weeks back

                                              What a clusterfrick. those poor people, everyone's been doing their proxy wars in their backyards for years and years. Some probably dont even remember what peace and prosperity are like.

                                              • Abdulrahman Saleem
                                                Abdulrahman Saleem  2 weeks back

                                                رحمة الله على ابو عدي

                                                • John R
                                                  John R  3 weeks back

                                                  Iraq , another American success story. Forget the Russians and the Chinese , we are the problem ! No one on earth has caused more death , destruction and suffering than the US has , no one.

                                                  • WAN AMIRUDDIN
                                                    WAN AMIRUDDIN  3 weeks back

                                                    All of this mindless effort for golden mountain...

                                                    • 可爱的胸部可愛い

                                                      So it's all America's fault as to expected or rather As usual. Cassualy America's fault

                                                      • The All Seeing Eye
                                                        The All Seeing Eye  3 weeks back

                                                        Basura = Basra.

                                                        • Sherbaz Khan
                                                          Sherbaz Khan  3 weeks back

                                                          America the home satan,
                                                          You'll be destroyed, every era has an end,

                                                          • MOHAMMEDVIP
                                                            MOHAMMEDVIP  3 weeks back

                                                            سلامن عليكوووم

                                                          • Bobby’s World
                                                            Bobby’s World  4 weeks back

                                                            Isn’t this mentioned or foreshadowed in the Christian Bible?

                                                            • Wittman 131
                                                              Wittman 131  4 weeks back

                                                              This is so sad. No wonder they're suicidal

                                                              • Norg1
                                                                Norg1  4 weeks back

                                                                maybe Iran should just annex Iraq maybe the people would like that ..???? or maybe Britian should re annex Iraq …???? I wonder who they would choose LOL

                                                                • JOSEPH
                                                                  JOSEPH  4 weeks back

                                                                  save my country 💔im crying

                                                                  • Fahd Alharbi
                                                                    Fahd Alharbi  4 weeks back

                                                                    3:45
                                                                    The Arabian Gulf، it's will remain an Arab forever✌
                                                                    الخليج العربي ، سيبقى عربياً إلى الأبد✌

                                                                    • Cahyo Cuyexs
                                                                      Cahyo Cuyexs  4 weeks back

                                                                      Rasulullah SAW bersabda, Hari Kiamat tak akan terjadi sebelum Sungai Eufrat mengering dan menyingkapkan ‘gunung emas’ yang mendorong manusia berperang. 99 dari 100 orang akan tewas (dalam pertempuran), dan setiap dari mereka berkata,  ‘Mungkin aku satu-satunya yang akan tetap hidup’. (HR Bukhari).
                                                                      Dalam riwayat lainnya, Rasulullah bersabda, Sudah dekat suatu masa di mana Sungai Eufrat akan menjadi surut airnya, lalu tertampak perbendaharaan daripada emas, maka barang siapa yang hadir di situ janganlah ia mengambil sesuatu pun daripada harta itu. (HR Bukhari Muslim).
                                                                      Imam Bukhari juga meriwayatkan hadis lainnya, Rasulullah SAW bersabda, Segera Sungai Eufrat akan memperlihatkan kekayaan (gunung) emas. Maka, siapa pun yang berada pada waktu itu tidak akan dapat mengambil apa pun darinya. Imam Abu Dawud juga meriwayatkan hadis yang sama. 
                                                                      Dalam hadis itu, Rasulullah pernah bersabda bahwa sungai yang mengalir di tiga negara besar, Turki, Suriah, dan Irak itu pada saatnya nanti akan menyingkapkan harta karun yang besar berupa gunung emas. Selain itu, dalam kitab Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman diungkapkan bahwa keringnya Sungai Eufrat merupakan saat datangnya al-Mahdi sebagai akhir zaman.
                                                                      Hadis di atas membicarakan tentang Sungai Eufrat. Dalam bahasa Arab dikenal dengan nama al-Furat atau air paling segar. Menurut Dr Syauqi Abu Khalil dalam Athlas al-Hadith al-Nabawi, Eufrat adalah sungai yang mengalir dari timur laut Turki. 
                                                                      Sungai itu membelah Pengunungan Toros, lalu melewati Suriah di Kota Jarablus, melewati Irak di Kota al-Bukmal, dan bertemu Sungai Tigris di al-Qurnah yang bermuara di Teluk Arab, ujar Dr Syauqi. Panjang sungai itu mencapai 2.375 kilometer. Dua anak sungainya, yakni Al-Balikh dan Al-Khabur, sudah mengering.

                                                                      • Ahmed Chakib BENABDI
                                                                        Ahmed Chakib BENABDI  4 weeks back

                                                                        Once more the USA being the devil again and killing people then claiming it’s not their fault

                                                                        • Nelson Swanberg
                                                                          Nelson Swanberg  4 weeks back

                                                                          War does not determine who is right. It determines who will be left.

                                                                          • Ankara Seoul
                                                                            Ankara Seoul  4 weeks back

                                                                            🇹🇷

                                                                            • Mike Sollows
                                                                              Mike Sollows  4 weeks back

                                                                              Looks like the survivors in 2020 will have to march to a new refugee center , there are water keepers building new dams that will rock your world ....

                                                                              • levent bay
                                                                                levent bay  4 weeks back

                                                                                US one more achievement. SUCCESSFULLY TARGETED DAMS . BRAVOOOO

                                                                                • Justin Worboys
                                                                                  Justin Worboys  1 months back

                                                                                  Wow. This is the first time I'm hearing that dams are actually harmful to the environment.
                                                                                  Wow, the US coming in and helping bring water back to those people.

                                                                                  • ali jabbar
                                                                                    ali jabbar  1 months back

                                                                                    Amazing video really heart touching information especially if we are living this corrupted situation

                                                                                    • zohrebrown
                                                                                      zohrebrown  1 months back

                                                                                      heart-breaking greed without consideration of the consequences.

                                                                                      • Nukka Za
                                                                                        Nukka Za  1 months back

                                                                                        Should colab with Israel , they don’t have much water resources, they did an infrastructure project called “dew” , invest in desalting since the north neighbours r being selfish , lots of solutions just need honest governance , man iraq looked beautiful

                                                                                        • I. C.
                                                                                          I. C.  1 months back

                                                                                          This was prophesied in the book of Revelation.

                                                                                          • Joel 14
                                                                                            Joel 14  2 weeks back

                                                                                            @I. C. I was thinking about the same

                                                                                          • I. C.
                                                                                            I. C.  2 weeks back

                                                                                            @MOTHER PEARL But this is just one passage, to have understanding, you have to read the whole Bible.
                                                                                            At least the New Testament.

                                                                                          • I. C.
                                                                                            I. C.  2 weeks back

                                                                                            @MOTHER PEARLRevelation 16:12 "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East."

                                                                                          • MOTHER PEARL
                                                                                            MOTHER PEARL  2 weeks back

                                                                                            what do you mean?

                                                                                        • MarinePilot572
                                                                                          MarinePilot572  1 months back

                                                                                          "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." Rev 16:12 😮😮😮

                                                                                          • DADA BHAI
                                                                                            DADA BHAI  1 months back

                                                                                            And the river has gold underneath