The death toll from overnight flooding in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil has risen to 12, Roj News reports.
While several people including a 10-month-old baby, lost their lives in the flooding, hundreds of homes were damaged. One person also died after being struck by lightning.
Fazil Ibrahim, Meteorological Director of the Kurdistan Region, reported that 59.2 millimetres of rain fell per minute in the city centre of Erbil, 72 millimetres in the Shamamk region and 83 millimeters in Pirmam. Life is stopped in the city due to flooding as houses, cars, shops, and markets were badly hit in the flood, the main roads were also closed to traffic.
Erbil Governor Omid Xosnav asked the public not to leave their homes or use the roads between the city centre and outside unless there is an emergency.
Almost every year in the Kurdistan Region, similar disasters are experienced due to floodings.
The lack of improved infrastructure and the lack of necessary measures has created public outcry. Erselan Umer, whose house was flooded, explained:
“When I woke up at night, I saw the water level rise. Suddenly there was a flood. The basement of the house was flooded and the inside of the house was flooded. My car was also affected by the flooding. Two of our neighbors have passed away. The flooding was so severe due to the lack of a good sewage system. There’s no place in the area for the water to flow, so there’s flooding.”
Residents demand support from the government. Hîwa Baram is one of them, saying how they survived the flooding is a miracle.
“It was a miracle that we survived. We noticed the flood at the last minute. If I hadn’t reacted quickly, my children would have drowned. I had to save them in three minutes. It was a miracle. Our house was badly damaged by the flooding. We’re waiting for the government to help us.”