• Kirkuk

  • Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 5:20 AM
    Last Update : Monday, July 1, 2024 at 4:53 AM

Iraqis in Kirkuk Endure Scorching Summer Heat to Make a Living

(AWP) - Workers in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk have to endure tough conditions in the scorching heat, with temperatures soaring to 50°C, as they struggle to make a living amidst recurrent power outages that last for hours every day.

In a popular market in the centre of the northern Iraqi city, the number of shoppers has significantly decreased, while sellers and porters continue working in the almost empty shops that would normally be crowded with people in better weather conditions.

Ahmed Saleh, a seller in the market, said, “The temperature today is 50°C and no one comes to the market because people have no money and their conditions are difficult. There is no electricity, and we don’t know how to pay the electricity bill this month. What is the fault of the poor?”

He continued, “Everyone here is looking to earn a living, but the market which was usually crowded is almost empty. Now, only two or three people come from time to time, and the weather is hot. When we go home there is no electricity. How long will we remain like this regarding electricity? From 2003 until now, there is no electricity.”

Saleh’s complaints were shared by Ibrahim Mohammed, who works as a porter in the blistering conditions.

Mohammed said, “I work under the sun and get very tired. I was born in 1962 and I work using this cart to transport vegetables and fruits from one place to another in the market.” 
Shoaib Mustafa, another seller in the Kirkuk market, blamed the shortage of work and trade on the regular and lengthy power outages.

“The weather is very hot and there is no electricity. Generator electricity costs approximately 15,000 Iraqi dinars [around $11.50]. Where is a poor person supposed to get this amount from?” he asked.

Mustafa added, “Most of the young people of Kirkuk are unemployed. Therefore, most of them work as porters. We demand that the Iraqi government provides job opportunities for young people, to employ them or open factories in Kirkuk and other Iraqi governorates. If I receive a salary of 150,000 dinars [around $115], I will not have to work under the sun.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani recently issued a decision to reduce the working hours of government departments due to the hot weather.