Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

Photos: Climate crisis threatens centuries-old oases in Morocco

Photos: Climate crisis threatens centuries-old oases in Morocco

Residents of the oasis of Alnif say they cannot remember a drought this bad. The land is dry. Some wells are empty. Palm groves that date back more than 100 years are barren.

Home to centuries-old oases that have been a trademark of Morocco, this region, about 274km (170 miles) southeast of Marrakesh, is reeling from the effects of climate change, which have created an emergency for the kingdom’s agriculture.

Among those affected is Hammou Ben Ady, a nomad in the Tinghir region who leads his flock of sheep and goats in search of grazing grass. The drought forced him to rely on government handouts of fodder.

November is usually a cold, wet month in Alnif. But when the rain failed to come, the king called for rain prayers across the country, an old Islamic tradition during desperately dry times.

Resident Mo’chi Ahmad said the oasis has provided a livelihood for this population for hundreds of years. Now it is “threatened with extinction” and everyone has noticed the disappearing palm trees.

In the last three years, hundreds of people from the oasis areas have fled towards cities, many young people migrating to Europe, mainly because of the drought, said Mohamed Bozama, another resident.

He also blames the digging of unauthorised wells and rising demand for water from existing wells for worsening the crisis.

But for Hassan Bouazza, part of the solution lies in the hands of the people of the Alnif region. He was the first to install solar panels on the region’s ksar, or castle, and began relying on the energy produced to dig wells and irrigate his fellow farmers’ lands.

“We must learn to live with the situation we’re in and think about ways to make the heat and drought work to our advantage,” such as by using new irrigation systems and solar power, he said.

He called for oasis inhabitants to be provided with training to help them move away from traditional irrigation in favour of drip irrigation, which requires significantly less water.

But sometimes, Bouazza said, it is hard not to despair when climate warnings are ignored.

“It is like a little child holds a dying bird in his hand, and all he does is laugh. This is how we are treating Mother Earth.”

Nomadic herders guide their sheep in search of food to graze near Tinghir, Morocco.

Boys play football in the Alnif oasis town. In the last three years, hundreds of people from oasis areas have fled towards cities, and many young people have migrated to Europe.

The sun sets over Tinghir, considered a gateway for southeastern Morocco and the desert region.

Dead palm trees are visible in the town of Nkob, near Zagora, Morocco.

People take part in a rain prayer procession during a drought in Alnif oasis town, near Tinghir. November is usually a cold, wet month, but when the rain failed to come, the king called for rain prayers across the country, an old Islamic tradition during desperately dry times.

Low water levels are visible around the Todgha dam near Tinghir, Morocco.

A worker watches as water flows from the ground during a well-digging process to provide water for nomads, near Tinghir. Digging of unauthorised wells and rising demand for water from existing wells are blamed for worsening the crisis.

Hammou Ben Ady, a nomad, pours water for his sheep, near Tinghir.

A man walks next to agricultural lands in the Alnif oasis town.


Newsletter

Related Articles

Saudi Press
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, instead proposing its own six-week ceasefire plan contingent upon the release of all hostages held by Hamas
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
Saudi Arabia Introduces Terms for 30-Year Income Tax Exemption for Multinational Companies
Saudi FM: Establishing Palestinian state is only pathway for Mideast stability
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Elon Musk's Starlink Gets License For Israel, Parts Of Gaza
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
International Criminal Court's Chief "Deeply Concerned" By Rafah Bombing
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Indian female military officers commend Saudi Arabia's progress and women's empowerment
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Israel Utilizes AI Military Technology in Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
China Warns Iran to Halt Houthi Attacks or Damage Trade Ties
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Iran-backed hackers interrupt UAE TV streaming services with deepfake news
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: The Israelis underwent dehumanization on 7.10, this does not give them the right to do this to others.
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
UK Bans Misleading "Zero Emissions" Claims for Electric Cars
Gaza's Teen Inventor Sparks Light in Displacement
Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire Proposal, Insists On Total Victory Over Hamas
Guterres appoints independent UNRWA review panel
Private Sector Employment Hits Record High with Over 11 Million Employees in January
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
ZATCA Cautions Against Scammer Schemes
INTRA Defense Technologies inaugurates drone factory in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, has announced a partnership with the London Metal Exchange to set up metal storage and delivery centers in the country. Alkhorayef highlighted Saudi Arabia's expanding military industries sector, crediting the Public Investment Fund (PIF) as a key partner, during his speech at the second PIF Private Sector Forum in Riyadh
×