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Wildfires ravage marshlands on Iran-Iraq border

The destruction of important marshlands and other natural reserves in wildfires in Iran may be caused by humans as well as nature.
An Iraqi fisherman pulls in his nets as his wife helps in their dug-out on the al-Huwaiza marshes northern Amara, 420 km south of Baghdad on June 13, 2011, considered to be the demarcation line with neighbouring Iran and which were drained by the regime of the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the Iraqi-Iranian war. Following the collapse of the previous regime, and the entrance of the US-led forces into Iraq in 2003, the water source was opened  with  fifty percent of the marsh land flooded allowing

AHVAZ, Iran — A mother covers her daughter’s mouth and nose with her headscarf as they rush through the heavy smog that blankets a crowded street. She stops to cough, but then continues to walk while covering her own mouth with her free hand. Maryam and her daughter Mina are not the only ones struggling with the air in this southwestern Iranian city. For over two months, Ahvaz and its people have been choked by fires engulfing the Hawizeh Marshes that straddle the border with Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of the marshes are located in Iraq, with the rest not far from Ahvaz.

In mid-August, the governor of the town of Hawizeh, west of Ahvaz, said fumes and the smoke from flames originating on the Iraqi side of the marshes have sent over 250 people to the hospital. Things are not looking any better on the Iranian side of the border.

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