Jordan Valley fire damages crop, inflicts losses

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — A conflagration which swept across farmland in the Jordan Valley this week and lasted for three consecutive days before coming under control damaged crops and resulted in losses to farmers, who accused Israel of being behind the blaze.اضافة اعلان

Jordan Valley farmers told Jordan News that that Civil Defense cadres tried to control the fire, but it got out of control, and spread to nearby bushes because the terrain was difficult to access since it lied in a security-monitored zone on the Western border with Israel.

Jamal Al-Masalha, a secretary-general of the Jordan Farmers Union, accused Israel of causing the flame to erupt.

“We got used to this arson attack every year, and it was carried out by the Israeli side, taking advantage of the dry weeds and farms,” Masalha told Jordan News.

He pointed out that the fire “spread across seven kilometers from Damia Bridge to Al-Zawriah area.”

He said that the armed forces had circulated to farmers not to use the “Jordan River’s water for irrigation and noted the necessity of removing the pumps from it.”

“We are suffering from restrictions from the Jordanian authorities on farmers, while the Israeli side is benefiting from the river’s water“, he pointed out.

Akram Haimour, owner of palm and lemon tree farmland, told Jordan News “we want drastic solutions to tackle these frequent fires.”

“We are tired of these redundant incidents, which happen constantly without any serious action taken on the ground,” he said.

He asserted that “controlling the fire was not easy due to the sensitivity of the borders and the difficultly accessing the farms.”

Haimour also said that “the direct losses amounted to 200 trees. We might need a few days to have accurate information and figures on the impact of the bonfire on the rest of the trees, especially since the heat exacerbated the negative effects.”

He predicted that the burned area may need tens of years to grow trees there again, “and in one day they were burned completely, while our government is not serious about solving this problem.”

“We do not want compensation, we want a radical solution”, he insisted.

Head of the farmers’ union Adnan Khaddam told Jordan News that “we got used to having brushfires in the Jordan Valley every year, but they were delayed for some time this year.”

The director-general of the Jordan Farmers’ Union, Mahmoud Al-Oran, told Jordan News that “there have been repeated calls for the use of herbicides to prevent the spread of fires over large areas, but there has been no response from the official authorities.”

He stressed that there was an “urgent need to allow farmers to monitor their farms at night to avoid disasters.”

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