Iraq: eight dead in floods in Erbil in Kurdistan
Eva Deschamps / December 17, 2021
Eight people died early Friday in floods caused by torrential rains that hit Erbil in Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdistan region, provincial governor Omid Khoshnaw told AFP.
The floods began at 04:00 and killed eight people, including women and children, he said, mainly in popular neighborhoods east of the city of Erbil (capital of the province of the same name). Four members of the civil defense who came to help the residents were injured when their car was swept away by the waters, he added. A spokesman for the civil defense in Erbil, Sarkawt Karach, told AFP that among the eight people who died, one was struck by lightning, and the others drowned in their homes. Several families had to leave their homes, he added, reporting considerable material damage. He also said that searches were taking place to find missing persons, stressing that the death toll could be higher. In the suburbs of Erbil, an AFP journalist saw torrents of muddy water pouring across the roads.
Along some roads, buses, trucks and tankers have been washed away and are lying next to each other on the side of the road, sometimes on their sides. The governor of Erbil province further called on residents to stay in their homes unless necessary, saying that more rain was expected and that flooding could still hit the city of Erbil and its surrounding areas. Security forces and police are on alert as well as medical and civil defense teams and municipalities in the areas of the region.