West Asia

Deadly floods hit Iraqi Kurdistan

Published : December 18, 2021 16:33 IST

A Turkish and a Philippine national were reportedly among those killed in the flooding. Photo: Ahsan Mohammed Ahmed Ahmed/Anadolu Agency/picture alliance

Rains have slammed the Kurdish autonomous region after one of the driest years in decades.

At least 11 people were killed by heavy flooding in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq on December 17, a government official confirmed. "The death toll has now risen to 11, after the discovery by the civil defense personnel of three bodies of missing persons who had been washed away, including a Filipino national and a Turk," the provincial mayor Nabaz Abdelhamid told AFP. The flooding was caused by heavy rains overnight that had pummeled the capital of the region, Erbil, in the north of the country. The incident caused widespread damage to houses and vehicles. Further afield, the rains caused a bridge to collapse in the province of Nineveh.

Children among the deceased

An earlier report by Erbil's governor Omed Khoshnaw said that one person had been killed by a lightning strike. In another case, a 10-month-old baby was swept away by the water. "The flooding began at 4 a.m. and among the victims were women and children," Khoshnaw told the AFP news agency, adding that they were mostly from the poorer neighborhoods in the east of the city. Workers were still searching for people who had gone missing.

Extreme weather vulnerabilities

The rains on the night of December 16 came after one of the driest years in decades. Officials warned that heavy rains could hit the area again. Catastrophes associated with heavy rain have made headlines around the world several times this year, including the deadly floods in western Germany as well as in major cities in China. Iraq is particularly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather patterns — most likely driven by climate change — due to its underdeveloped infrastructure. Energy blackouts during record heat waves in recent years have sparked large-scale anti-government protests.

ab/aw (dpa, AFP)

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor