Iraqi PM makes first visit to protest-hit Basra

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi visited Basra yesterday, his first trip as prime minister to the southern province where lagging services spawned a water crisis and deadly protests last summer.

Abdel Mahdi’s office said he visited several infrastructure and service projects in the oil-rich province, including water provision services in the Shatt al-Arab area.

“He called for redoubled efforts so these projects can be accomplished as quickly as possible,” his office said.

In the summer of 2018, an unprecedented water crisis in Basra left 100,000 people hospitalised and sparked a massive protest movement that resulted in a dozen dead.

The provincial capital is still rocked by demonstrations every Friday demanding more access to drinking water, steady electricity and jobs for unemployed youth.

After his appointment in October, Abdel Mahdi pledged to present a plan to fulfil these demands within his first 100 days in office.