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Morocco: Climate crisis threatens oases

2022-12-24T15:19:13.352Z


Dying palm trees, dried-up wells and a fruitless search for pasture grass: Morocco's oasis areas are suffering from drought. People's reaction? Technology, traditions – and flight.


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For centuries, the people of south-eastern Morocco have been practicing oasis farming.

But the climate crisis is threatening their continued existence, and the residents are fighting the drought, which also poses a risk to the kingdom's agriculture - as here in Alnif.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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Here farmers are trying to get water from a well.

They want to irrigate their fields in the municipality of Nkob.

Due to the drought, some wells in the country have dried up.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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A man looks out over a palm grove in the town of Nkob.

The trees also suffer from the lack of water - they turn brown and get sick.

Many people are already turning their backs on agriculture: in the past three years, hundreds of people have fled from the oasis areas to the cities, and many young people have emigrated to Europe, a resident told the AP news agency.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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The drought also poses a threat to livestock farming: the nomad Hammou Ben Ady waters his sheep near Tinghir.

Because of the drought, he cannot find enough pasture grass for the animals and is forced to resort to government feed supplies.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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In some places, palm trees are already dying in large numbers, as shown in this aerial photograph from Nkob.

While some of the people here are giving up and leaving the region, others are fighting the drought.

"We have to learn to live with the situation we're in and think about how we can use the heat and drought to our advantage," Alnif resident Hassan Bouazza told the AP.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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This image shows Bouazza next to solar panels in the oasis town of Alnif.

He installed these and uses the generated energy to dig wells and irrigate the agricultural land.

Still, sometimes it's hard not to despair when climate warnings are ignored, he says.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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These people try another, less scientific way to fight the drought: they participate in a rain prayer.

When the rain failed to materialize in November – a usually rainy month – the king had called for the old Islamic tradition.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

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Nomad herders roam the arid landscape near Tinghir with their sheep in search of grazing lands.

Their situation will probably become more and more difficult in the coming years due to the advancing climate crisis.

Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP

bbr/AP

Source: spiegel

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