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Morocco's nomads face uncertainty about their future

Morocco's nomads   -  
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Morocco's nomads have spent centuries roaming the desert to find food for their animals, but their way of life is steadily disappearing.

Many say their traditional lifestyle has become impossible to sustain as climate change brings ever more intense droughts.

"Climate change is the cause of the deterioration (of this region), there are no more snowfalls like before, which made it possible to saturate underwater reserves. Everything has dried up, including the rivers and the wells. The poor (nomads, ed.) are stuck. There is only one water point left for them here, if drought hits (this place, ed.) too, they will have nothing", said Driss Skounti, elected to represent nomads in the region.

On top of climate change, the nomads also have to deal with hostility from some villagers, who do not want them camping in their region.

"We would like to go to other areas but people chase us away and tell us to go home, they won't let us settle anywhere else, but our "home" is hit by drought", laments nomad Othmane Zaghar.

Others like Haddou Oudach blame government policies of land privatisation and agricultural investment, such as the "Green Morocco" programme launched in 2008.

"It is the "Green Morocco" plan (programme defining the agricultural policy of the Kingdom of Morocco, launched in 2008 by the Ministry of Agriculture, ed.) that is behind all this, since it has allowed the rich to build farms, dig new wells and close the old ones belonging to the nomads. They have plundered the wealth of the country, these people who have houses, villas, they have taken everything, if they could take the sea, they would. And they left the people living outside to die", accuses the nomad.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, rainfall is set to decline by 11 percent and average temperatures set to rise by 1.3 percent by 2050.

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