ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Torrential rains in multiple areas of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq on Monday led to floods that damaged infrastructure, homes and, in places, resulted in casualties.
The downpour began Sunday evening and continued into early next day, leading to a sharp rise in water levels in rivers, lakes, and tributaries in various parts of the country.
The Dukan dam reservoir, located in the Kurdistan Region province of Sulaimani, is two meters away from overflowing, according to Mohammed Tahir, the dam’s director.
Late Sunday, local governments in a number of rural districts in the provinces of Sulaimani, Kirkuk, and Diyala declared Monday an official public holiday for schools, in preparation of possible safety hazards to students.
In other areas, the announcement came on Monday as heavy precipitation flooded streets of many towns, prompting school staff to personally phone parents of pupils to take the students back home. Severe weather conditions interrupted classroom activities.
In Kirkuk, authorities put the city’s emergency response units on standby in anticipation of incidents at the outcome of the latest bout of heavy rainfalls. They also called on residents to stock up on drinkable water as regional purifiers could experience operational difficulties due to the poor weather.
The rain also limited inter-city travel as it triggered landslides near and on roads, among them a road linking the cities of Ranya and Qaladze.
Post-rain floods are a perennial issue in the country as a whole, caused in large part by chronically inadequate infrastructure, including inefficient or poorly-maintained urban rainwater management and sewage systems.
Due to even poorer housing quality in some areas, heavy rainfall can result in casualties as rooftops of homes collapse on unsuspecting families, the chief victims being children.
In a town near the Iraqi Wasit Province’s city of al-Kut, the provincial health directorate in a statement on Monday confirmed the death of a ten-year-old girl, who perished under the rubble of her caved-in home.
Videos posted on social media, purportedly dated Monday, March 25, showed floods swamping rural regions and public facilities in multiple rural areas in the southern provinces of Wasit, Babil, and Basra,
In the northern city of Mosul, which recently witnessed an overloaded ferry boat capsizing on the Tigris, killing at close to 100 passengers—the worst incident since the defeat of the Islamic State in the city—water flooded the streets, creating gridlock traffic in some parts of the city.
Editing by Nadia Riva