HC Deb 04 December 1995 vol 268 cc81-2W
Mr. Home Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on evidence obtained by his Department from the Western European Union satellite centre about the effects of the construction of the Euphrates barrage in southern Iraq in 1993; what percentage of the Al Amarah and Hawr al Hammar marshes have been drained; and what assessment he has made of the impact of the draining those marshes on the population of that area. [3260]

Mr. Hanley

Although we cannot estimate the precise extent to which the marshlands have been drained, satellite and other imagery of southern Iraq points to a severe reduction of the Amarah and Hammar marshes. This repressive policy has enabled Iraq to control the local population by driving them from the marshes, upon which they rely for their livelihood, into impoverished conditions in cities.