Raw sewage, searing heat combine to threaten health in Ahwaz
The streets of the cities of Al-Ahwaz and the marginalised Malashiya neighbourhood have been covered with sewage in the last two days due to an open disregard by officials in responsible for municipal departments of the Iranian regime. Ahwazi activists have disseminated pictures of the situation that Ahwazi citizens have had to endure in these areas due to sewage and contaminated water flooding the streets and severely obstructing traffic. The activists have stated that many skin diseases and other medical epidemics have been spreading throughout citizens of the region, especially children, due to deliberate negligence by the Iranian regime to address the subpar sewage networks in Ahwaz and Malashiya. Pictures show accumulation of sewage in the streets of Ahwaz and Malashiya which makes them resemble infested swamps.
The Ahwaz citizens have criticised the Iranian regime’s deliberate negligence – demanding they expedite finding a solution to the sewage flowing in the streets that hinders the movement of citizens. “We are in the middle of the summer and the rainy season is still far away, but this is the situation in the streets of our cities. So how will the situation be when winter and rainfall come?” the activists said. The area of Ahwaz suffers from deterioration of infrastructure and its sewer network which has been having issues with blockages throughout the year. Ismail Edni, the general supervisor of the University of Jundishapur Medical Sciences in the capital of Ahwaz, has expressed concern regarding the spread of serious skin diseases in local children caused by exposure to sewage.
It is worth mentioning that Ahwaz natural resources such as oil, gas, and many agricultural crops encompass more than 90 percent of the Iranian economy, but their cities and villages suffer from chronic poverty and tragic humanitarian situations due to regime negligence.
Exposures to environmental contamination continued to be a primary cause of health risk in Al-Ahwaz region also knows as Khuzestan in the southwest of Iran. Unclean water, bad sanitation, and poor hygiene are the main causes of exposure, along with the continuing air pollution jeopardise the well-being of Ahwazis.The lack of potable water, as well as the severe air pollution are leading to soaring cancer rates, as well as other diseases, with the latest statistics showing that six thousand people have been diagnosed with cancer in the past year alone. The severely under-funded health care system is barely able to cope with even the most basic healthcare needs, let alone to treat cancer or deal with disease epidemics. Ironically, much of the severe air pollution in the area results from unchecked oil and gas extraction in the region, which houses over 90 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran: despite the massive wealth which the regime in Tehran obtains from these resources, the peoples of the region are deliberately excluded from its benefits, living in medieval squalor, part of a longstanding policy of systemic racism towards the Arab population.
The pollution of water and the transfer of clean water to other parts of Iran, as well as increasing rates of unemployment, divorce and the migration of the Ahwazi elites, are the major problems faced by Ahwazis. The Ahwazis despite occupying an area that contains about 90% of Iran’s oil reserves, they have consistently been ignored and live in some of the gravest economic conditions in Iran. Not only are economic opportunities limited, but the Ahwazis have also endured more suffering and misery after the diversion of their freshwater sources to central Iran, leaving their region in severe drought.
It is a crime in the Iran to write about the lack of basic rights to a decent existence for the Ahwazi people who live below the poverty line, while their land is teeming with natural resources such as oil, natural gas, mining stone and running water.All remain inaccessible to the people of Ahwaz, including the right to clean drinking water.Where is the justice when the Ahwaz region, the so-called heart of Iran’s economy, is considered one of the poorest regions in Iran? One has only to visit the outpatient department in hospitals in the Ahwaz to find them filled with patients suffering from cancer and other pollution related chronic lung diseases.