2,000 Fruitful Palms Cinders in Massive Wildfire in Southwest Iran as Drought Worsens

 Sunday, July 26, 2015 10:45:04 AM

2,000 palms ready to be harvested were burnt to ashes in Khanafereh city, as Shadegan�s Lieutenant Governor said.


The palms groves located in the city of Khanafereh, Khuzestan Province, were engulfed as a result of fire dire led at least 1,000 rich date trees to ashes.

Deputy Governor Nimatollah Alboughobeysh along with mayors of the cities of Shadegan, so-called Fallehiyeh by Ahwazi Arab citizens, and Khanafereh went close the scene according to the governmental news agencies.

He praised all efforts for fire containment by locals, Darkhooin municipality and Department of Urban Development, moreover, added that their timely reaction bridled flame and curbed spreading ingle in the region.

The Deputy Governor expressed drought in the zone was one of the fire�s reason and said the incident details reported to Director General Provincial Disaster Management and Agricultural Water Supply required and increasing in quota for palmettos was strictly emphasized.

Alboughobeysh also noted that the Director General Provincial Disaster Management promised despite the severe drought, basic palm owners would be faced basic services and improvement.

He remarked palm owners would not pay fine because they just ensured their dates, not the palms.

According to governmental news agency Fars, there are more than 2 million and 500.000 palms in Shadegan County, Khuzestan Province, Iran (At the 2006 census, its population was 48,642, in 8,600 families). Most of the palms placed in Khanafereh city.

�The official explained that the blaze broke out and spread quickly due to a combination of factors, including intense heat and drought in the area. Adding to the farmers� woes, Hamid Matroodi, the head of the local Department of Agriculture, confirmed that the regime will not pay compensation because only the harvested dates are insured, not the palm trees themselves.  Experts in the area believe that one of the primary causes of the drought, the latest of a number in recent years, is the regime�s diversion of rivers in the Ahwazi Arab areas to Persian regions of the country�, as Ahwazi activists said.

They added this is the latest catastrophic loss for farmers in Shadegan (Falahiyeh) County,   where tens of thousands of date palm trees have been destroyed in recent years by drought or by arson; this is believed to be part of a regime policy to drive the farmers out of business and force them to leave the area as part of the regime�s ethnic cleansing of Arab areas.

Matroodi also said that 30 percent of the remaining date palms in Shadegan County are withered and in danger of dying due to the severity of the drought. Date farming is a primary source of income for farmers in the county, with the dates being exported to Europe, Arabian Gulf nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

By: Kaveh Taheri