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Iraq's favorite lake dries up in sign of worse to come

Iraq's once-impressive Lake Milh used to be a major touristic site near Karbala, but now its vanishing water is part of a growing regional crisis.
A fishing boat floats on the shores of the manmade Lake Razzaza, west of the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala, around 120 kilometres south of Baghdad, on May 20, 2013. For the past two weeks, most of fishermen who rely on their trade to make a living, have stopped sailing on the lake fearing that they might by targeted by gunmen coming from the mainly Sunni Muslim Anbar province where security has deteriorated. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE        (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Karbala’s Lake Milh hasn’t seen a lot of visitors in the last few years. Once a popular picnic destination for Karbala residents, the lake’s water has dwindled, leaving most of it a desert with nothing but derelict fishing boats and dead animals.

The second-largest lake in Iraq, Lake Milh is also known as Lake Razzaza; it lies west of Karbala and southwest of Baghdad. It is fed by the Euphrates River as well as rainfall and groundwater sources. Over the last decade, however, it has been drying up.

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