ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Three people were killed and three others required medical attention on Thursday night after a Basra resident fell into an open manhole and others attempted to rescue him in the absence of assistance from city workers.
"This is negligence... from the municipality," one of the relatives of the victims said in an interview with Basra-based al-Marbad Radio, noting that many of the city's manholes had no covers, posing a significant public hazard.
The incident occurred at a compound of 1,500 housing units in a neighborhood where residents say there is no ambulance service or civilian defense to intervene in such emergencies.
"Our brother fell into the gutter and we had no means to save them," said a witness.
After the first man sustained lethal injuries following his accidental fall into the sewer, five others, family members and bystanders, climbed in to rescue him. Of those, two died and three sustained injuries.
Another witness spoke of how the local population had over time repeatedly requested local authorities provide them with covers for manholes, but had seen no results.
Although Basra is the third largest city in Iraq and the center of the oil industry, it suffers from chronic shortages of basic services. Since the beginning of Ramadan, Basrans have taken to the streets to protest the lack of sufficient electricity, sometimes blocking roads with blazing tires.