Drought and military restrictions threaten nomadic life in Cizre

Due to the prevailing drought, the nomads in Cizre, Şırnak had to return to their villages from the high pastures earlier this year. Many of the ancestral pastures are restricted military areas.

Nomads from the Cizre district in the Kurdish province of Şirnak had to return early from their summer pastures in the highlands this year because of the drought. Now there is a risk that they will not be able to feed their animals in winter.

While most of the highland areas in the Besta region and in the Namaz, Çirav and Herekol mountains are currently restricted military areas, the highland areas in other regions do not meet the needs of the nomads' livestock. As a result, the survival of nomadic families in the mountains is becoming more difficult every year.

Müdür Ruvanas has been earning his living as a nomadic cattle herder for 20 years. He lives in the village of Biyakup and moves into the highlands with his herd every summer. As he explains, the nomads now have to move to other regions due to the lack of grazing land in Cizre. "The soldiers prevent the nomads from going to the highlands. They have imposed a ban and won't let anyone go to the pastures. Therefore, there is less and less space for us to move. There is less and less space for the pastoralists," he said.

Ruvanas demands that the forbidden highlands be allowed access again. He also stated, "The rising prices of hay and barley are causing us problems. If this continues, no one will be able to herd their cattle."

Despite all the difficulties, he likes being a nomad: "We set up tables for ourselves and talk, we talk about animals and the world, we eat our food and drink our tea."