The Maysan [Missan] Provincial Council allocated more than $42 million [49 billion Iraqi dinars] for the development of the province’s marshlands for 2011, a local official said on Thursday.
“The ministry of state for the marshes’ affairs have allocated the sum of 49.900 billion dinars to set up service projects in the eastern and western marshlands in Missan,” Jasseb Kadhem Himdan, the chairman of the council’s marshes development committee, told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
“The projects focus on health, housing, education, electricity and communications ,” he added.
He pointed out that the ministry, during 2010, spent 70 billion dinars to refurbish the Missan wetlands, adding some 178 projects were carried out in the spheres of housing, agriculture, water resources, education, roads, electricity, water, sanitation, health, communications and social development.
The marshes in southern Iraq, the largest and oldest in the world, play a key environmental role in housing of indigenous and migrant birds. They cover an area of between 15,000 and 25,000 square kilometers.
With a population of about 500,000 people, the marshlands shrank by one-tenth during the former regime’s time after all river courses were altered and dams were built to cut them into parts, a matter that prompted most of their inhabitants to emigrate.
(Source: Aswat al-Iraq)