Al Khora, Basra
Basra is a major city in southern Iraq, known for its historical importance and significant role in the country’s economy, particularly concerning its oil industry and port. While the city of Basra and its surrounding areas are relatively well-documented, smaller localities and neighbourhoods might not be as widely recognized in global information repositories.
Al Khora is one of the districts around Basra. During my 2019 visit, I met local dignitaries and saw projects run by the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.
Sheikh Qassim lives in Al Khora, a village in the Basra region, with his wife and four children. For years, he watched on helplessly as they contracted regular illnesses due to the contaminated water they were obliged to drink. Nasim was not alone. Many Al Khora residents reported to AMAR that they had to drink contaminated water on a regular basis, exposing them to life-threatening diseases. AMAR teams heard that most families spent up to 50% of their monthly income on drinking water. The situation was untenable, with residents planning to move if the situation did not improve.
“My family has always lived in this village”, one woman told AMAR staff, “I don’t want to leave, but I just can’t live here anymore if there’s no water to drink.”
AMAR stepped in to save the endangered community, building a new water system that channelled water from a nearby canal. As a result, over 7,000 local residents gained access to potable water.
“Before we had the new pipelines, my children’s health was always poor. I knew it was because of the water, but there was nothing I could do”, Sheikh Qassim told AMAR staff, “But now there is clean water for us, they are much happier because they have not been sick in a long time.”
AMAR did more than build a water treatment plant. Staff worked with regional Directorates of Health and Water to produce accessible water hygiene awareness materials for the community and establish the Women Environmental Health Volunteers programme. Volunteers have conducted thousands of visits to Al-Khora families since the beginning of the scheme in 2015, spreading vital awareness about water hygiene and conservation. At a political level, AMAR implemented the Al Khora Water Hygiene Council in which key stakeholders and local residents can discuss important issues of water hygiene and usage.