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Kura River in Azerbaijan so shallow that the bottom is visible. Who’s to blame – farmers or the gov’t?

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The Kura River in Azerbaijan, one of the main waterways of the country and a body which plays an important role in the ecosystem of the entire South Caucasus, has become significantly shallow.

Some experts attribute the alarming situation to the careless attitude of local farmers. Others warn of the risks that the Mingachevir reservoir continues to create for the country’s water resources.

Photo: oxu.az

Residents of the Neftchala region of Azerbaijan say that there is so little water in the river that you can see the bottom.

They have to buy water for their cattle, gardens and orchards.

There are drinking water problems in the area as well, and local residents say they have it delivered from the neighboring Salyan region.

Farman Huseynov, a resident of the city of Neftchala which is located on the banks of the Kura River, told the BBC that the level of fresh water in the river had decreased so much that the saltwater of the Caspian Sea has begun to flow into the channel, mixing with the river and leading to problems with drinking water:

“Over the past hundred years, it has never happened that salt water has filled the mouth of the river. The authorities should have seen to the problem and made sure in advance to prevent this,” says Farman Huseynov.

One of the main reasons for the shallowing of the river is the careless attitude of farmers

“The Kura has been reduced to such a condition that we can talk about a threat to the entire ecosystem,” said Ramiz Mammadov, director of the Institute of Geography of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.

Mammadov says one of the main reasons for the issue is the irresponsible approach of local farmers.

“There is rapid growth of farming here, new farms are being created, the volume of water use has increased dramatically. And it is used wastefully,” says Ramiz Mammadov.

In particular, he said, within the 50-60 kilometers that separates the village Banq from the Caspian Sea, water pipelines and pumps have been installed in many places.

“Fisheries and ponds have been created, and a huge amount of water is spent on all this,” says Ramiz Mammadov.

At the same time, he noted, it is necessary to take into account climate changes that affect the ecosystems of the entire planet.

How to solve the problem?

On April 15, 2020, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on measures for the rational use of water resources. A special commission has also been created to study the problem and propose a program to restore the water levels in the Kura.

However, experts have doubts that the commission will be able to come to a decision in the foreseeable future.

Environmentalist Telman Zeynalov considers the arguments about global climate change and reduced rainfall unsound.

“Perhaps the shallowing of the Kura is due to the fault of the Mingachevir reservoir, which draws too much water from the river,” says Zeynalov.

If the commission created by the president really wants to understand the situation, they should come to the place and study what is happening there, the ecologist believes.

“They say that some officials built objects where the waters of the Kura and Araks merge. And for these objects too much water is taken from the river. The Commission should ask about this issue.”

The post Kura River in Azerbaijan so shallow that the bottom is visible. Who’s to blame – farmers or the gov’t? appeared first on English Jamnews.

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‘Our Animals Are Dying’: Water Goes Bad In Azerbaijani Village

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Residents in the village of Banka in Azerbaijan say they lack basic water supplies for themselves and their animals after water in the Kura River dropped and became contaminated with salt water from the nearby Caspian Sea. Experts believe farming, a major hydroelectric plant upstream, and climate change could be to blame.Read Original Article here by RFERL

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Citizens of Baku to remain stuck at home? No info on future as last day of strict quarantine approaches

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As of August 3, citizens of Baku and 14 other cities and regions in Azerbaijan have spent six weeks living under a strict quarantine regime due to the coronavirus.

Since June 21, people have been allowed to go outside for three hours a day after receiving SMS permission from the authorities, and all stores are closed, excluding grocery stores and pharmacies.

Public transport is not running on Saturdays or Sundays.

The authorities’ most recent decision states that the quarantine will end at 6 am on August 5. However, no statement has been released about lifting the quarantine, and there is a growing fear that it may be extended.

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Within the past three weeks, there were several times when the quarantine was scheduled to be lifted, but was instead extended. But the authorities had issued a statement informing citizens ahead of time.

Azerbaijan continues to celebrate Eid al-Adha, and August 4 is the first working day after the holiday.

MP of the Milli Mejlis Musa Guliyev reported some positive news:

“The roads between cities and regions will reopen, the metro will start running again, and people will be able to leave the house without SMS permission. But at the same time, we musts not forget that the epidemic is still going on and we must adhere to safety measures.”

However, people on social networks have more to say about the pessimistic forecast of the chief infectious disease specialist Jalal Isaev.

He said that the authorities may extend the strict quarantine for several more weeks in order to bring the number of new cases a day down into the double digits.

Over the past 24 hours, 286 new cases have been reported in Azerbaijan, bringing the total since the beginning of the epidemic to 32,443 cases. Eight more people have died, bringing the total in Azerbaijan to 462. 27,113 people have recovered.

Baku, Tbilisi Avenue. Photo JAMnews

The post Citizens of Baku to remain stuck at home? No info on future as last day of strict quarantine approaches appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Azerbaijani Ombudsman denies death of political prisoner. New reports of torture in prisons. Updated

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12.00 / August 2

It remains unclear whether Azerbaijani political prisoner Fuad Qahramanli, a board member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, is alive or has died in prison.

On the evening of August 1, information about his possible death from torture appeared on social media [more in the report below]. Then, former prosecutor Rufat Safarov denied this message on his Facebook page.

“The head of the department for the prevention of torture of the Azerbaijani Ombudsman’s Office, Rashid Rumzadeh, said that Fuad Qahramanli is alive,” Safarov wrote with reference to lawyer Bahruz Bayramov.

The lawyer was promised that on Monday, August 3, they would try to arrange a meeting with Qahramanli.

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Rufat Safarov, in the same post, critically noted that the ombudsman’s staff should have visited the prisoner after the alarming messages on social media and provided reliable information to his family and friends.

Instead, they postponed the issue for several days.

With the hope that Fuad Qahramanli is still alive, opposition blogger Bakhtiyar Hajiyev also writes:

I appealed to the Ombudsman about the state of Qahramanli. About half an hour later, I was informed that he was alive and that he was currently in the Kurdakhan detention center. It is reported that his condition and conditions of detention are good.

The issue is now under the personal control of Ombudswoman Sabina Aliyeva. I look forward to a solution to the issue of organizing meetings between prisoners and their families and lawyers.

There is very little information on the state of political prisoners in Azerbaijan’s prisons as a whole.

Blogger Nihad Huseyn wrote on his Twitter that opposition activist Seymur Akhmedov was able to send a letter from prison to his loved ones, in which he reported being tortured daily and beaten.

Akhmedov, like Qahramanli, was detained among 45 opposition activists for participating in a rally in Baku in support of the army on the night of July 15.

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Seymur Akhmedov writes that … a man in civilian clothes beat him for hours in the building of the Narimanov district police station,” blogger Nihad Huseyn said.

19.00 / August 1

Political prisoner Fuad Qahramanli may have died from torture in a Baku prison on August 1, local social media write. There is no official confirmation or evidence yet.

Fuad Qahramanli is one of more than 45 members of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan who were detained after the July 15 rally in Baku in support of the army.

“Ilham Aliyev [President of Azerbaijan], if something happens to the people you have arrested, you are responsible for it,” his ex-wife Zumrud Yagmur wrote on her Facebook page.

While no official confirmation has been given, a number of messages to effect have been published, amongst others by well-known investigative journalist Khadija Ismail:

Various sources say that PFPA executive director Fuad Qahramanli was tortured. There is also information that he is dead. Lawyer Bahruz Bayramov was not allowed to see him from the moment of his arrest.

“Two other party members, Baba Suleiman and Seymur Akhmadov, were also severely tortured and threatened with rape. Baba reportedly agreed to sign false statements against party chairman Ali Karimli after being tortured.

“We try to check the reports. Lawyers are not allowed to see their clients, and there is no effective mechanism against torture in Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijani bloggers have recently begun to conduct a daily report in two areas: statistics on coronavirus and the number of oppositionists detained by the authorities.

The 45 opposition activists who were recently arrested were initially charged with illegal protests during the rally in support of the army on the night of July 15.

However, the charges then escalated, and some of the detainees are now charged with ‘attempting to overthrow the government’.

The post Azerbaijani Ombudsman denies death of political prisoner. New reports of torture in prisons. Updated appeared first on English Jamnews.

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