Hawa, a Casualty of Climate Change and Poverty in Iran

In mid-July, 2019, a crocodile attacked Hawa, a ten-year-old village girl in Sistan and Baluchestan, one of the driest and poorest provinces in Iran. Hawa’s village had been suffering from drought and lack of drinking water, forcing her to fetch water from the marsh nearby. Hawa returned home without water, and without her right arm. She became a recent casualty of climate change and poverty in her region.

 

In recent years, a prolonged drought has been accelerating the disappearance of wetlands in Sistan and Baluchestan. Every May, a vile hot wind, known as the Wind of 120 Days, wails across the thirsty flatlands of the region. Screaming heat evaporates the residual surface water. It worsens the drinking water shortage and deteriorates cultivation and all aspects of everyday life.

 

The drought has exacerbated the region’s poverty and left many areas close to uninhabitable. Some 53% of the residents of the province lived in poverty in 2016. Draught has only worsened the situation.

 

According to the governor-general, "an estimated 1,680 villages in Sistan-Baluchestan lack piped water". Nearly half of the villages in the province lack water supply networks. Tankers supply only limited water. The drinking water crisis has forced villagers to provide for their needs from ponds and marshes and share natural water sources with crocodiles and other animals. Many have suffered from infectious diseases and attacked by crocodiles. Children like Hawa have been among the primary victims.

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s her father sterilizes the remaining flesh of her arm, Hawa gazes into her radically altered future. In mid-July, 2019, a crocodile attacked Hawa, a ten-year-old village girl in Sistan and Baluchestan, one of the driest and poorest provinces in Iran. Children like Hawa have been among the primary victims. On that fateful day, Hawa returned home without water, and without her right arm. She became a recent casualty of climate change and poverty in her region.

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For years, reptiles, crocodiles, and villagers have shared water side-by-side, without imposing on one another. Yet, the overwhelming drought has lead to not only the concentration of the Gondos in the remaining small water sources, but for these creatures to fight for their survival in a high density environment.

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In mid-July, 2019, a crocodile attacked Hawa, a ten-year-old village girl in Sistan and Baluchestan, one of the driest and poorest provinces in Iran. Facing a deepening drinking water crisis, the villagers have been forced to provide for their water needs from ponds and marshes, and share natural water sources with crocodiles and other animals. Many have suffered from infectious diseases, and attacked by crocodiles. Children like Hawa have been among the primary victims. On one fateful day, Hawa

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A family fetching water from a pond in the region of Keshari near Sistan and Baluchstan.

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Zakaria's friends visiting him at his house during his recovery from a crocodile attack. On July 25, 2019, Zakariya, who was eight years old, was attacked by a crocodile near the marsh. Zakariya sustained deep injuries to his leg and was taken to the hospital.

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Baluchi children in session while their teacher drinks clean bottled water. Due to poverty of this region, some classrooms in Sistan and Baluchestan are held outside under shacks in an over-heated weather.

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For years, reptiles, crocodiles, and villagers have shared water side-by-side without incident. However, the overwhelming drought due to climate change, mismanagement, has led to a concentration of crocodiles around the small remaining water sources and forced these creatures to fight for their survival in a high-density environment. More than twenty children have died from such incidents and their numbers continue to increase.

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Women returning home with their children after fetching water from the pond. Sometimes these women, who are the sole providers of water for their families, walk for kilometers and long distances. Lack of potable drinking water has been the main concern for the villages of this province. According to the governor general, "an estimated 1,680 villages in Sistan-Baluchestan lack piped water."

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Abandoned water pipes infrastructure. Several years ago, a municipal project for the construction of water pipes for Sistan and Baluchestan province was initiated. Unfortunately due to the shortage of funds and long distances between the villages, the project has been hampered and is incomplete to this day.

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Abandoned water pipes infrastructure. Several years ago, a municipal project for the construction of water pipes for Sistan and Baluchestan province was initiated. Unfortunately due to the shortage of funds and long distances between the villages, the project has been hampered and is incomplete to this day.

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Women returning home with their children after fetching water from the pond. Sometimes these women, who are the sole providers of water for their families, walk for kilometers and long distances. Lack of potable drinking water has been the main concern for the villages of this province. According to the governor general, "an estimated 1,680 villages in Sistan-Baluchestan lack piped water."

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Asiyah displays her infected hands.

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Abandoned water pipes infrastructure. Several years ago, a municipal project for the construction of water pipes for Sistan and Baluchestan province was initiated. Unfortunately due to the shortage of funds and long distances between the villages, the project has been hampered and is incomplete to this day.

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