April 29, 2013, National Geographic Newswatch
As temperatures in Southern Iraq approached 52 degrees Celsius (126°F) last July, Habib Salman, a 52-year-old farmer in the Al-Islah township, shot himself in the head, leaving behind an eleven-member family.
The stream on which their farm relied had recently dried up, jeopardizing his family’s survival. “We lost water, next farming, and next the household supplies, and then it was very hard for us to put food on the table,” says Rakla Abboud, Habib’s wife.
Now, she relies on a few cows and the support of her husband’s brothers to feed herself and her children. Leaving the barren land around her home is not an option, she says.