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UN Report on Lake Urmia; 600,000 Have Migrated; 5 Million Will Be Forced to Migration

AZOH: UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed has given information about Lake Urmia environmental disaster, in his October 2014 report.

The report informs that while according to official reports “93 percent of Lake Urmia has dried up” the government only has taken “positive steps to identify solutions”  of the disaster.

The report highlights the effects of the disaster by the below sentences:

“On 20 April 2014, officials reported that 93 per cent of Lake Urmia had dried up,  doubling  standard  salinity  levels  and   resulting  in  an  increase  in  cancer  and respiratory diseases. Local officials have maintained that, if the necessary measures are  not taken  by  October 2014,  the  southern  part  of  the  lake  will  disappear,  which could  force  up  to  5  million  people  to  migrate  from  the  area. Figure  IX  shows  the decreasing surface area of the lake.

According to the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 600,000 people have migrated from areas surrounding the lake and wetlands and the people remaining in the area are living in conditions of increasing poverty. The  number  of  sandstorms  and  dust  storms  has  almost  doubled  from  120  to 220 days  each  year.  The  desiccation  of  the  Hamoun  wetlands  has  also  led  to  an increase  in  tuberculosis  in  the  city  of  Zabol,  while  the  desiccation  of  Lake  Urmia has  had  a  major  impact  on  the  socioeconomic  situation  of  inhabitants  who  depend on its water, in particular for agriculture.”

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