A weeks-long heat wave of nearly record temperatures across the Middle East has devastated this year’s summer crops in Syria, already challenged by lack of water and fuel for farm machinery.
“The people [in northern Homs] lost most of this year’s crop yield after the drought,” Yarab a-Dali, an activist in the northern Homs countryside, told Syria Direct Thursday, adding that farming is the only form of livelihood for the people of this region.
Given the particularly wet winter, farmers had hoped for a bumper summer crop, but temperatures over the past month have averaged around 110 degrees Fahrenheit, (43 degrees Celsius,) at least 10 degrees hotter than usual.
The once-fertile northern Homs countryside has been especially hard hit, where a three-year regime siege makes farming already a difficult task.
The regime has cut off the irrigation channels that run from reservoirs in Homs city to the surrounding countryside, said a-Dali.
Nearly 500 acres of farmland in just three villages in the northern Homs countryside have completely dried up this year, farmers told pro-opposition Zamn al-Wasl on Tuesday.
An estimated 90 percent of all farmland in Syria was affected by this year’s drought, reported Zamn al-Wasl.