KARBALA / Aswat al-Iraq: Poor people in Karbala are in search of cheap clothing, with high prices being the norm since difficulties arise in importing products from Syria.
"I'm a widow with four children; I came to the market to buy new clothes at reasonable prices, but the prices have skyrocketed," Um Mohammad told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
"Weeks ago the price of a 5-year-old child's shirt was 3000 dinars; now it's 6000 dinars, which I cannot afford," she said.
Um Mohammed admitted that she would purchase second-hand clothing, or simply resort to going home without any purchases to save the money to buy school's uniforms for two of her children.
Another woman, Um Kadhim, stands in front of another clothing retailer waiting for his quoteto buy four pieces for her sons at a lower price, despite one of her sons admitting to his dissatisfaction with the clothing she picked out for him.
"I do not have enough money.
Buying a shirt with trousers for a child in a popular marketplace requires more than 15,000 dinars and the amount will be doubled for those who are older; I don't know how could I can afford to clothe six children," she told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Imam Ali street is one of the oldest streets in Karbala and contains several stores and scores of peddlers.
One of the stores' owners, Ahmad Saad, admitted to the recent rise in prices, saying "yes the prices went up but it's not us who have done this, buying wholesale clothes increased by traders, which affected the retail business."
"The increase in prices did not just happen, rather it happened over a month ago," he noted.
"This has not happened because of the eid (Lesser Bairam) and the increase in demands but because of closing the road between Iraq and Syria, which has made importing from Syria so difficult," he clarified.
In the shoes market, one of the owners, Ali al-Mahdi, said "there is an increase in prices but its not a huge increase, the increase in prices is limited."
Chairman of the economic committee of the Karbala province, Tareq Katiefa al-Khikani said "in every occasion we realize that the prices will go up and poor people are the only sector who are suffered."
"Developments in Syria have negatively affected importing products, mainly clothes, which are cheaper compared to their prices in Iraq," he added.