At least two killed as torrential rain causes flash floods in Iraq

Worst-hit areas were in the mountainous Kurdistan Region in the north

Deadly flash floods hit northern Iraq

Deadly flash floods hit northern Iraq
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At least two people were killed and 11 injured in flash floods caused by heavy rain across Iraq.

The worst-hit areas were in the mountainous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, where a deluge of rainwater inundated streets on Tuesday, catching residents off guard.

The two victims were trapped in their vehicle and swept away by floodwaters in Dahuk province, authorities said late on Tuesday.

In response to the crisis, local authorities across Iraq announced Tuesday and Wednesday would be holidays, mainly for schools.

At least 30 houses suffered damages from the floods in the province, Civil Defence spokesman Col Bewar Abdul Aziz told state-run TV.

Dahuk is one of three provinces that make up Kurdistan Region.

The rain, the heaviest in Iraq this winter, was accompanied by thunderstorms, which began on Monday.

The force of the rushing water washed away cars and toppled trees.

Rain continued to fall on Wednesday in some parts in Iraq, mainly Kurdistan.

Emergency response teams, including municipality workers and Civil Defence services, were on hand to rescue people stuck in cars and homes.

In the past three years, Iraq has faced record summer temperatures that exceeded 50°C in many areas, as well as insufficient and diminishing rainfall and frequent sand and dust storms.

Reduced water flow from its two main rivers, the Euphrates and Tigris, and record heatwaves have intensified drought and water scarcity.

Desertification affects 39 per cent of the country and 54 per cent of its agricultural land has been degraded, mainly due to soil salinity caused by historically low river levels, lack of rain and rising sea levels.

Low-quality infrastructure has resulted in serious flooding in some areas. Anger over poor services and corruption prompted months-long protests in 2019.

Since then reforms have been announced and billions of dollars spent on projects, but there has been little evidence of significant change.

Updated: March 20, 2024, 1:18 PM