Four hikers drown after heavy rains in Iraq

Published May 4, 2024
AN aerial view of Iraq’s Tigris river, near Mosul, on Friday after heavy rains and a release of excess water from a dam.—AFP
AN aerial view of Iraq’s Tigris river, near Mosul, on Friday after heavy rains and a release of excess water from a dam.—AFP

SULAIMANIYAH: Floods caused by torrential rainstorms killed four hikers in the Sulaimaniyah region of northern Iraq on Friday.

“Four members of a hiking team drowned because of heavy rains and flooding in Awaspi village”, in Qaradah district, local official Rouf Kamal said.

Civil defence spokesperson Aram Ali confirmed the toll, and said eight other hikers survived the incident south of Sulaimaniyah, the autonomous Kurdistan region’s second city.

He said a weather warning had been issued on Thursday, with hikers in particular urged to avoid mountainous areas.

Heavier than usual rainfall has caused flooding in several parts of Iraq, especially the north, and some roads in Kurdistan region capital Arbil were blocked.

Iraq has suffered four consecutive years of drought, with irregular rainfall badly affecting water resources, forcing many farmers to abandon their land.

But Ammer Al Jabiri, spokesperson for the weather service in Iraq where the rainy season is generally from December to March, said precipitation was “better this year than last year”.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2024

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