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Location: BASRAH Total Visits: 30989

Situated in the south eastern corner of Iraq, Basrah is the socio-economic hub of southern Iraq. The governorate capital of the same name is Iraq’s third largest city. The governorate’s geography is diverse, ranging from the Marshland areas in the north to plains and desert further south.


Basrah contains a significant proportion of Iraq’s oil reserves, and the Umm Qasr port is the country’s only shipping hub. The provincial government’s economic development priorities therefore focus on oil and transport, with agriculture playing a small role. The low importance of agriculture – one of the main employers of Iraqi women – could be contributing to the low female labour force participation rates in Basrah’s rural areas (4%, compared to the 25% national average for rural women).


A government security operation in the governorate in March 2008 led Shi’a leader Moqtada Al-Sadr to call a ceasefire at the end of that month. Subsequently, the security situation in Basrah improved considerably in the second half of 2008.


Due to the high salt content of local water sources, one of the main problems facing Basrah is access to safe drinking water. The water from the general network is often only fit for washing and cleaning purposes. Drinking water is generally purchased from water tankers or markets which receive supplies from petrochemical plants that use reverse osmosis to remove the excess salt. Basrah performs well according to other infrastructural indicators, with sanitation and electricity access significantly better than the national average throughout the governorate.


In spite of the problems with water in the governorate, few of the IDPs (10%) in Basrah displaced during the violence of 2006-2007 identify water as a priority need. Almost all IDPs in Basrah identify shelter (98%) and access to job opportunities (91%) as their priority needs. In spite of these concerns, a high proportion (85%) of Basrah’s IDPs – most of whom come from Baghdad – would like to settle locally.


Governorate Capital: Basrah
Area: 19,070 sq km (4.4% of Iraq)
Population: 1,912,533 (6% of total)
  Source: GoI COSIT (est. for 2007)

Gender Distribution: Male: 50% Female: 50%
Geo Distribution: Rural: 21.8% Urban: 78.2%
  Source: GoI COSIT (est. for 2007)

Population by district:
  Source: WFP VAM (2007)
Reports & Assessments

Basra Factbook

An overview of the funds and projects completed in Basra


US Government, May 2005
Download: English, 0.46MB

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