Sulaimani cancels New Year celebrations ‘out of respect’ for victims of flooding and terrorism: Mayor

Combined photos of New Year celebrations in 2018. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Combined photos of New Year celebrations in 2018. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Local authorities will not hold any events to celebrate the New Year in the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimani province this year in a show of solidarity with the victims of Erbil’s recent flash floods and those killed by ISIS, the mayor announced on Tuesday.

Erbil, the city hard-hit by Friday’s flooding that killed at least 12, canceled all the government-sponsored New Year celebrations on Sunday “out of respect” for the flood victims as well as the Peshmerga forces and civilians killed in recent ISIS attacks, Governor Omed Khoshnaw announced on Sunday. 

Local authorities in Sulaimani province on Tuesday announced that there would be no government-sponsored events this year for the same reason, Awat Mohammad, the mayor of Sulaimani, said in a press conference. 

Local authorities in the autonomous region allocate a budget for fireworks and decorations for the Christmas and New Year celebrations each year. 

The Kurdish capital’s Christian-majority Ankawa district will also close down all the “tourist sites”, including nightclubs and restaurants, during Christmas to show solidarity with the Erbil flood victims. 

Two individuals from the flood-stricken areas are still missing and are presumed dead. Rescue teams continue their search for them. 

The Kurdish capital suffered more than $13 million in damage as a result of the extreme weather, according to the governor. 

Read More: Erbil suffers over $13 million in damage from deadly floods; Cancels New Year's celebrations

Increased ISIS attacks in the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad have killed 23 civilians and Peshmerga since Nov. 27.