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Burning oil fields in Iraq poses threat to civilians – UNEP

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 Burning oil fields in Iraq poses threat to civilians UNEP
Burning oil fields in Iraq poses threat to civilians – UNEP

1 Near-suffocation due to what appears to be a scorched-earth policy employed by Islamic State militants is causing further suffering to civilians in Northern Iraq, a UN agency said on Thursday.

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2 The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a statement fires are set in an apparent response to the ongoing military offensive to drive the extremist group out of its stronghold of Mosul.

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3 It said that a total of 19 oil wells have been set ablaze by armed groups near the town of Qayyarah, South-east of Mosul, with citizens and security forces exposed to toxic fumes.

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4 Iraqi authorities have blamed the blazes on Islamic State.

5 The agency said that last week, stockpiles of poisonous materials stored at the Mishraq Sulphate Factory near Mosul also caught fire, leading to a large toxic plume spreading over dozens of km.

6 “Iraqi health authorities, supported by the World Health Organisation, treated more than 1,000 cases of suffocation in towns and villages bordering Mosul.

7 “This week, a water plant was reportedly affected by fighting, leading to a chlorine gas leak,’’ UNEP said without specifying the location of the facility.

8 UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim has described it as sad episode.  

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Edited by: Damilola Oyewole/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

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