A dry horizon: Iraq’s interlinked drought and climate crises

Published 23. Oct 2022
In 2022, Iraq witnessed a second consecutive year of drought and record low levels of rainfall across the country. Drought conditions are exacerbated by the broader impacts of climate change as Iraq remains one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to rising temperatures, decreased rainfall, and related food and health aftereffects.

These interlinked crises related to water and climate have served as a threat-multiplier for millions of conflict- and displacement affected people throughout the country. Most recently in the 2022 cropping season, drought conditions and decreased river levels significantly limited access to drinking and irrigation water, depleted harvests and incomes, and heightened barriers to food accessibility.

In Iraq, NRC surveyed 1,341 households in Anbar, Basra, Dohuk, Kirkuk, and Ninewa governorates. The survey was conducted in August 2022 to assess the impact of drought and the climate crisis on the most recent harvest season.

The household survey and interviews demonstrate the impact of drought, climate change, and decreased river flows on farming communities across five governorates in Iraq, with serious repercussions on access to food, water, and harvestable land, as well as the erosion of incomes.