“A drought against its waters, that they be dried up! For it is a land of idols; They are besotted by their dread images.” Jeremiah 50: 38 (THE ISRAEL BIBLE)
The region, once known as the Fertile Crescent, is on the verge of a food crisis as the main sources of water disappear. Officials struggle to cope as a prophetic scenario appears.
Iraqi officials are reporting that for three consecutive years, the rainy season has begun later and ended sooner than the historic norm. This has been coupled with less water flowing through its two main rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The region has also been plagued by ongoing conflict.
“Desertification now threatens almost 40% of the area of our country – a country that was once one of the most fertile and productive in the region,” Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid told the climate summit in Egypt last week.
“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.” Rev. 16:12 (The New Testament)
Nadhir Al-Ansari, professor at Sweden’s Lulea University of Technology, told Reuters that rainfall in Iraq had declined by 30% over the past three decades, with the lowest precipitation coming in the last two years.
“What was once known as the Fertile Crescent started to die about 35 years ago,” he said.
Officials accuse Turkey of cutting the river’s flow upstream over the last two years to half the level it committed to in a 1987 accord, a claim the Turkish government denies. In the year to September, rainfall in southeast Turkey where the rivers originate was 29% below the average of the previous three decades, according to Turkey’s meteorological agency. Dams and drought have reduced the waters of the two rivers to about 20% of previous levels.
All these elements combined have led to a food crisis in the region. Almost 90% of rain-fed crops, mostly wheat and barley, failed this season, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Iraq.
The 1,700-mile-long Euphrates is the main source of drinking water as well as powering three hydroelectric plants that produce electricity for about three million people in Syria. Two dams in northern Syria face imminent closure which would leave about three million people without any access to electricity. The water level at the Tishrin Dam, the first into which the river falls inside Syria, has dropped five meters and is currently about ten centimeters above “dead level” when the turbines stop producing electricity.
The Euphrates figures prominently in the Bible with it being described as bordering the Garden of Eden.
“The name of the third river is Tigris, the one that flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. “Genesis 2:14
It was also named as one of the borders of the land God granted to Abraham’s descendants.