People living in the village of Aslantepe in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority province of Şırnak (Sirnex) can no longer afford rising electricity costs due to a recent price increase of up to 125%.
As they were unable to pay, the power company cut off the power to the wells that provided water for 50 households and 16 thousand sheep.
Now the villagers are trying to bring water from distant locations by their own means.
Speaking to Mezopotamya News Agency, the villagers said they were in danger of losing their herds, the sole means of their livelihood, because of both the military’s ban on traveling to high pastures but also due to lack of sufficient water.
Muhyettin Arslan, a 45-year old villager said:
“We have no running water. We can’t provide water for our sheep. I’ve gone all the way to İdil to provide water. But I couldn’t arrange transport for it (…) This is our only means to provide for our family of 20. And animal husbandry is in fact no more worth much. The price of a sheep is the same as a can of butter. How can we go on like this? We have debts. They’re letting animal husbandry collapse.”
Another villager, Abdullah Arslan, protested at the ban on high pastures:
“The soldiers don’t let us travel to high pastures. They don’t allow our herds to pass through. Is this God’s justice? They end their ban on high pastures in the Autumn. But we are supposed to be there in the Spring. Our livestock get sick and die because we can’t take them to the high pastures at the right time.”
Hatice Arslan noted that they now had to bring water on donkeys’ backs from long distances.
“It’s incredibly hard. We don’t have water and we are in a terrible state. It’s very hard for the villagers when there’s no water. We are carrying water on donkeys. We bring it from the wells and the lake. We just try to keep on living (…) We don’t even have water for washing our children. It was already hard before, but we didn’t have just as many problems as we have now.”