Saturday, November 05, 2016

Oxfam Calls on Iraqi Government to Seek Help to Extinguish Mosul Oil Well Fires

The Iraqi government needs to explain why it has failed to extinguish a series of oil well fires that are contaminating water supplies and causing health problems for thousands of families in Mosul, a spokesman for the charity organization Oxfam told Sputnik on Saturday.

 Oxfam spokesman Kai Tabacek, who is currently in Iraq monitoring the humanitarian impact of the US-backed Iraqi offensive against Daesh, urged the Iraqi Government to secure international support to help put out 19 oil well fires, set by the Islamic extremists in the Qayarrah area, south of Mosul.

 "We have no technical expertise in this area, but we understand that extinguishing these fires is a complex and costly operation. Oxfam is calling on the Iraqi government to prioritise extinguishing the fires and if necessary to seek support from other countries. We have had no indication that the Iraqi government has done this so far," Tabacek said.

Asked whether any attempt had been made to extinguish the fires, Tabacek said, "local fire crews and residents have tried to put out the fires, but the extreme heat and fact that some of the wells are rigged with explosive devices, makes this both dangerous and ineffectual."

He added that the government should also explain to communities what is being done about the fires and when they can expect the fires to be put out.

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