The Iraqi parliament decided by a majority of votes to compensate farmers who have been affected by farmland fires. The compensation will be offered after a follow-up committee assesses the damages.
The decision came during a parliament session on Thursday, June 13 which was partly devoted to discuss the surge in crop fire incidents across the country, which led to the devastation of thousands of donums of wheat and barley crop fields.
“Fortunately, we were able to include the issue into the agenda of Thursday’s session and the decision to compensate the affected farmers was passed by a majority of votes,” said Jamal Shukur, an Iraqi MP of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) faction.
Earlier, members of the parliament asked for investigations into the cause of the crop fires to be launched and demanded compensation for affected farmers.
“A special committee comprised of representatives of the committees of security and defense, agriculture and regions has been formed to assess the damages and follow up on the causes of the cropland fire incidents,” Jamal Shukur added.
In the past few weeks, a series of crop fires broke out in a number of Iraqi provinces, including Kirkuk, Ninewa and other territories disputed by the federal government and the Kurdistan regional government.
In addition to the huge crop damages, several fatalities related to the fire incidents were also reported.
According to figures released by the General Directorate of Civil Defense, during the period from May 8 until June 4 of this year, 44 fire incidents have been recorded in Ninewa province damaging 11,183 donums of crop fields, mostly located in Talafar.
Meanwhile, seven people have died in crop fire-related incidents in different parts of Ninewa province over the past week. Another 20 people, including civil defense personnel were also injured while trying to control the fires.
Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi said that the fire incidents which occurred this year is less compared to the year before, indicating that large areas of agricultural land have been saved.
He added that “such incidents are common around the world; therefore the issue should not be exaggerated.”