ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Meteorological authorities in Iraq on Friday warned of a fresh bout of torrential rain that could lead to flash floods in some parts of the country and a possible cross-border spillover from current deadly flooding in Iran.
Many parts of Iran and Iraq have been the sites of intermittent but often extreme rainfall for the past two weeks. In Iran, it has proven itself to be a significant natural disaster, as the ensuing floods have claimed the lives of at least 44 people as of Thursday, according to national media reports.
With water at critically high levels in flood-struck areas in Iran, the Iraqi Board of Meteorology and Seismic Monitoring announced that it expects the floodwaters could “flow across the border” and into nearby Iraqi towns and cities in the provinces of Diyala, Wasit, and Maysan.
In Kirkuk Province, the Directorate of Water Resources in a statement warned local authorities and residents of heavy rainfall they projected would be ongoing from Sunday through Monday. The directorate said the burst of precipitation may cause already high water levels to soar in a tributary of the Tigris River known as the Lower Zab, likely flooding areas near the towns of Altun Kupri (Pirde) and Dibis, which overlook the river.
This issue is further compounded as the authorities of Dukan Dam, about 100 kilometers upstream, discharged the near-full reservoir out of fear of its overflowing due to similar actions taken by the Iranian side in the wake of flash floods which have the effect of raising water levels downriver.
“Therefore, we recommend that local governments in these districts and subdistricts inform civilians to keep away from the Lower Zab River immediately,” the directorate’s statement read.
In the surrounding areas of the Dukan Lake, the rising water levels have caused significant damage to many nearby villages and towns, including agricultural fields and houses.
On Friday, a Kurdish family was forced to evacuate their home after floods nearly submerged their whole house. “We are a family of 12 and have always lived here, throughout all the seasons, relying on farming and livestock,” Mohammed Hussein Ibrahim told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday while standing on the rooftop of his flooded house.
Editing by John J. Catherine