12 killed in flash floods in Iraq

by IANS |

Baghdad, Dec 20 (IANS) A total of 12 people were killed in floods caused by torrential rain in northern Iraq, governor of Erbil province Omed Khoshnaw said on Sunday.

The torrents swept 15 areas in Erbil, a total of 2,509 homes and 867 civilian cars were damaged by the floods, Khoshnaw said in a press conference in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

"The material damage is estimated at 21 billion Iraqi dinars (approximately $15 million), in addition to significant damage to agricultural lands, sewage networks, streets, and sidewalks," Xinhua news agency quoted Khoshnaw as saying.

Moreover, Khoshnaw stressed that Erbil provincial government decided to cancel official New Year celebrations to mourn for the victims of the torrential rain.

Separately, Iraqi security forces in the country's northern Kirkuk province Friday rescued a number of families trapped in their houses as a result of the torrential rains, according to a statement released by the defense ministry.

On Thursday and Friday, heavy rainfalls hit the country's northern Kurdish region, including Erbil, some 375 km north of Baghdad.

The disastrous heavy rain came at a time when Iraq was suffering from a drought. Officials have warned about sporadic heavy rainfall, due to climate change.

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