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CRIMEAN-CONGO HEMORRHAGIC FEVER AND WATER SHORTAGE IN IRAQ

Claims, Conflict, and Capital Report:

CRIMEAN-CONGO HEMORRHAGIC FEVER AND WATER SHORTAGE IN IRAQ


Benjamin Maher, Megan Bilney, Alyssa Schmidt, Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2) Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff

May 26- June 1, 2022



Agriculture in Iraq[1]



Geographical Area | Iraq

Countries Affected | Iraq


The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has infected 111 individuals and caused 19 deaths in Iraq this year.[2] CCHF spreads mostly through tick bites and can be transmitted from animals to humans with no available vaccine.[3] The symptoms include severe bleeding internally and externally and are known to start quickly after the infection onset.[4] This combined with severe water shortages arising from high temperatures and drought is likely to put Iraqi civilians at risk of displacement, food shortages, and disease. Conflict and violence will likely occur over the limited availability of supplies. If resources to cope with the increase of CCHF cases and water shortage are not provided by humanitarian organizations or other countries, the mortality rate will very likely increase.


Areas of High Security Concern: Climate change is very likely to exacerbate the water shortage in Iraq. Limited accessibility to water and medications will likely lead to unrest and violence in the country. Terrorist activity will likely increase as tensions between groups increase over resource allocation and control. Groups will likely use CCHF and food and water shortages to increase power and support among communities through providing supplies and pushing for government instability. Impacts of climate change will likely be exacerbated by CCHF, with poverty and gender inequality likely to increase. Food and medical shortages will likely increase the risk of violent protests, with the gathering of people very likely to increase the spread of CCHF.


Current Claims: Iraq


Groups Involved in Conflict: Iraq residents; Iraq healthcare system; Iraq hospitals; farmers


Current Conflicts: The infection rate of CCHF was significantly higher than previous years.[5] Alongside this disease, Iraq has been experiencing dust storms and water shortages which led individuals to medical attention.[6] If the government does not provide assistance to the impacted areas, individuals will likely seek aid elsewhere, such as from extremist organizations.


Major Capital Industries: Healthcare system; agriculture


Potential Industry Concerns: The healthcare system will likely be overwhelmed by the increase of CCHF cases and individuals impacted by dust storms. Medical supplies will very likely be understocked, and rationing will likely occur. The drought will likely impact the farming industry as farmers and veterinarians will likely be at an increased risk for CCHF due to concentrated risk of exposure through animal contact. The cost of production will likely increase, likely leading to reduced food output. Farmers will likely have reduced access to medical care due to remoteness and financial costs on the industry, likely increasing long-term complications and mortality rates within this industry. Availability of sprayable chemicals to prevent and treat tick bites on animals will likely be reduced due to global events, such as the Ukraine War and supply chain issues. Farmers and veterinarians will unlikely have adequate supplies to prevent the spread.


Areas of Caution:

  • Emergency Management: The Iraqi countryside in the southern province of Dhi Qar has accounted for the majority of cases.[7] Several provinces have also banned livestock movement across their borders to reduce the spread of CCHF between herds and humans.[8] As food shortages impact vulnerable communities, it is expected that communities will migrate to other parts of the country. Mass displacement will create strains on services, and regional governments will be forced to find avenues to support communities suffering from food shortages and the ongoing risk of disease, such as CCHF and COVID-19.[9]

  • Economic: The CCHF increased the demand on regional medical personnel.[10] The COVID-19 pandemic caused Iraq to suffer from severe shortages of medical supplies and personnel.[11] The virus has adversely hit meat consumption, according to workers and officials.[12] The war in Ukraine has increased costs of food by 20%, forcing vulnerable civilians to risk disease or starvation.[13] Half of Iraq’s food supply is imported from outside countries which has been directly impacted by the increased costs.[14] The Iraqi government will likely face debt and inflation as global prices rise for critical goods and services.[15]

  • Social: Medical professionals in Iraq expect there to be an increased risk of infection as civilians prepare for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.[16] As wheat production is impacted by water shortages and communities turn to alternative food sources community gatherings will decrease through resource scarcity, however it is unlikely to deter families and small communities from celebrating together.[17] The CCHF virus is at risk of spreading if communities rely on meat due to alternative shortages and as groups gather together, increasing the chances of animal to human and human to human infection.[18]

Predictive Analysis:

  • Who: Iraq residents will likely continue to spread CCHF, likely exacerbated by the lack of water and treatment. Hospital resources are likely to deplete as the cases increase, likely causing additional stress on the healthcare workers. Farmers will likely produce less crops and have less accessible cattle likely leading to a decrease in the food supply.

  • What: The increased CCHF cases will very likely deplete the already reduced medical and food supplies in hospitals. Mortality rates will very likely increase due to lack of treatment access, as there is few supplies and the remoteness of many of the cases. Increased mortality rates will very likely increase distrust and resentment towards the Iraqi government and local government representatives. CCHF will very likely disproportionately affect low socio-economic communities, particularly farmers, and will likely disrupt farming production and increase costs. Decreased output will very likely increase food shortages and disrupt the food supply chain, likely increasing the need for importing food.

  • Why: The lack of accessibility to resources will likely lead individuals to commit crimes or join extremist organizations if promised the availability of basic resources. Theft will likely occur to obtain basic amenities such as water. Distrust in the government will likely lead individuals to seek assistance in other forms, such as extremist groups.

  • When: Heightened instability and insecurity in Iraq will likely be ongoing and will very likely increase as CCHF exacerbates poverty and lack of food and medical access among low socio-economic communities. Climate change and the increase in dust storms will very likely increase food and water shortages, likely decreasing trust in government, and will likely increase demands for prevention and assistance programs to reduce impacts. Anti-government groups will likely increase propaganda and verbal and physical attacks on the government and will likely seek to increase community support for their group.

  • How: It is likely that the threat of infection will continue, though increased sanitation is very likely to decrease the likelihood of the CCHF virus spreading. The fatality rate is seemingly dropping, making it likely that its impact will decrease as medical services become more adept at treating the disease. There are increased risks as communities seek alternative food resources as the water shortage continues in the short term, impacting sanitation processes and the demand for wheat. This will likely increase risks of illicit activity and violence and communities compete for scarce goods. Community leaders and non-state armed groups will likely take advantage of the shortages and create dependency, impacting the long-term development of rural communities.


CTG Recommendations

The Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2) Team recommends that researchers continue to study the spread of CCHF and determine potential treatments for this disease. Agencies, organizations, and companies (AOC’s) should monitor the cases in Iraq and distribute information on how to limit the spread. Humanitarian organizations and outside governments should provide assistance with resources to assist with shortages in water and food. The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) works to detect, deter, and defeat terrorism and will continue to monitor this incident for future developments. CTG’s Worldwide Analysis of Threats, Crimes, and Hazards (W.A.T.C.H) Officers will monitor Iraq for an increase in violence and extremist activities.

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[1] Marsh Arabs by David Stanley licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Deadly nose-bleed fever shocks Iraq as cases surge, France 24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220529-deadly-nose-bleed-fever-shocks-iraq-as-cases-surge

[3] Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, World Health Organization, May 2022, https://www.who.int/health-topics/crimean-congo-haemorrhagic-fever#tab=tab_1

[4] Deadly nose-bleed fever shocks Iraq as cases surge, France 24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220529-deadly-nose-bleed-fever-shocks-iraq-as-cases-surge

[5] Ibid

[6] Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: May 19 – 26, 2022, Reliefweb, May 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/iraq-security-and-humanitarian-monitor-may-19-26-2022

[7] Deadly nose-bleed fever shocks Iraq as cases surge, France 24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220529-deadly-nose-bleed-fever-shocks-iraq-as-cases-surge

[8] Deadly Nose-Bleed Fever Shocks Iraq As Cases Surge, NDTV, May 2022, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/deadly-nose-bleed-fever-shocks-iraq-as-cases-surge-3018926

[9] Water Scarcity and Environmental Displacement in Southern Iraq: Perceptions and Realities, Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, https://www.oxforcedmigration.com/post/water-scarcity-and-environmental-displacement-in-southern-iraq-perceptions-and-realities

[10] Deadly nose-bleed fever shocks Iraq as cases surge, France 24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220529-deadly-nose-bleed-fever-shocks-iraq-as-cases-surge

[11] Challenges Faced by the Iraqi Health Sector in Responding to COVID-19, Reliefweb, April 2021, https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/challenges-faced-iraqi-health-sector-responding-covid-19-enar

[12] Iraq seeing outbreak of nose-bleed fever. Here’s what we know about the deadly disease, WION, May 2022, https://www.wionews.com/world/iraq-seeing-outbreak-of-nose-bleed-fever-heres-what-we-know-about-the-deadly-disease-483282

[13] Iraq grapples with rising food costs as a result of Ukraine war, Al-Monitor, April 2022, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/04/iraq-grapples-rising-food-costs-result-ukraine-war

[14] What does Russia’s war in Ukraine mean for Iraq?, Middle East Institute, April 2022, https://www.mei.edu/publications/what-does-russias-war-ukraine-mean-iraq

[15] Iraq: Rising Fiscal Risks, Water Scarcity, and Climate Change Threaten Gradual Recovery from Pandemic, The World Bank, November 2021, https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/11/24/iraq-rising-fiscal-risks-water-scarcity-and-climate-change-threaten-gradual-recovery-from-pandemic

[16]Deadly nose-bleed fever shocks Iraq as cases surge, France 24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220529-deadly-nose-bleed-fever-shocks-iraq-as-cases-surge

[17] Severe Water Shortages Strain Wheat Harvest in Iraq, VOA News, May 2022, https://www.voanews.com/a/severe-water-shortages-strain-wheat-harvest-in-iraq/6594125.html#:~:text=Both%20flow%20into%20Iraq%20from,60%25%20compared%20to%20last%20year.

[18] Fever That Can Bleed You To Death Sweeps Through Iraq: Country On High Alert, The Health Site, May 2022, https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/fever-that-can-bleed-you-to-death-sweeps-through-iraq-country-on-high-alert-883712/

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