Without water, below 40 ° C and in the middle of a pandemic, villagers in southwestern Iran riot

Residents of the Gheyzaniyeh district, in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestân province, stood up on May 23 against the lack of drinking water they encounter during this period of high heat and while Covid-19 continues to circulate. In this oil-rich but among the poorest regions of the country, the water crisis has been going on for years and people are at the end of their tether, says our observer.On May 23, protesters from 85 villages in the district blocked the main road connecting Ahvaz, Ramhormoz and Omidiyeh, the three largest cities in the province. Collisions with police left nearly a dozen injured.

Demonstration of residents of Gheyzaniyeh on May 23 blocked the main road in the district.

From May, marking the beginning of the hot season in Khuzestan, the temperature may be approaching 40 ° C. The residents of Gheyzaniyeh district are particularly affected by the warm weather due to water shortages, while the air they breathe is heavily polluted by about 600 oil wells, some are located just a few hundred meters Covid-19 officially killed more than 8,000 people in Iran, and the country seems to be already after completing its termination to a second wave. If no figures regarding the assessment of the epidemic in Khuzestân are available, the region is again classified in the red zone.

Of the 85 villages that demonstrated, only 40 are connected to a dilapidated water supply network that only works a few hours a week. However, this area is located less than fifty kilometers from Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan, and it is surrounded by the Karoun and Jarahi rivers, giving rise to the increase.

[Une fois tous les cinq jours, parfois tous les dix jours, nous avons de l’eau dans les tuyaux seulement pendant deux heures. Et, même pendant ces heures, son débit est trop faible pour alimenter les maisons situées en aval de la canalisation, qui ne reçoivent donc pas du tout d’eau. À part cela, les camions-citernes viennent une fois tous les deux jours… Nos fermes en pâtissent, elles dépendent de cette eau que nous n’avons pas.]

The crops on the outskirts of these villages are also affected by this situation: there is the lack of water but also the fact that the soils are infiltrated with salt water, necessary for the extraction of oil from wells.
Failed pipeline project

In January 2017, the governor of Khuzestân approved a project to reconstruct the pipelines in Gheyzaniyeh. But the works, which are expected to be completed in mid-March of the same year, are still not complete. The inhabitants are therefore forced to rely on supplies of water with tank cars, but according to them this means of supply is far from sufficient.

It has been two days since I called the authorities in Ahvaz, they say they have sent 13 tankers. We are 40 kilometers from Ahvaz, what happened to these trucks during those 40 kilometers? Why are you lying to people? “

According to Iranian media, ABFA, the state-owned water company, has only four tankers in the region to supply water to 85 villages in the district. Following the recent protests in Gheyzaniyeh, the Revolutionary Guards announced that they would provide water to residents with another 20 trucks.