Several dead, thousands flee homes in Iraq floods

A young boy crosses a flooded street in Baghdad. The northern Iraqi town of Shirqat was hit by flash floods on Friday. (AP Photo)
Updated 23 November 2018
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Several dead, thousands flee homes in Iraq floods

  • Seven people died and thousands fled their homes in flash floods around the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat
  • Footage showed people in Salahuddin province, where Shirqat is located, escaping their half-submerged homes in small boats

Four children and three women were killed on Friday as heavy floods submerged thousands of homes in a district of northern Iraq, a local official said. Three other people were unaccounted for, said Ali Dawdah, the mayor of Al-Sharqat, a town 250 km north of Baghdad.

“Three thousand homes have been flooded,” and hundreds of families have fled, he added.

Lt. Gen. Jumaa Anad, head of the emergency operations room, said five people were still missing following the flash floods in Houreya village, outside of Al-Sharqat in the northern Salahuddin province. Anad said the village’s 4,000 residents have been evacuated after water levels rose to 2 meters. The flash floods also caused bridges to collapse.

The state news agency also reported floods in the southern province of Dhi Qar, saying that a house there collapsed killing two of its occupants.

Footage from the state-run Iraqi News Agency showed people escaping their half-submerged homes in small boats.

Iraq and neighboring countries have been hit by heavier-than-average rainfall in recent weeks, resulting in deaths and widespread material damage.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi announced Friday he was establishing a “crisis cell” of security forces and local authorities to coordinate a response.

It would be backed by “helicopters and heavy-duty vehicles will intervene as quickly as possible and carry out rescue operations,” his office said.

President Barham Salih expressed condolences to victims’ families on Twitter, calling it a “painful accident that reaffirms the necessity for reconstruction and (public) services.”

Iraq is one of the hottest countries on earth but when heavy rains do hit, they can result in floods because of deteriorating public infrastructure.

In 2015, 58 Iraqis were killed in floods and cases of electrocution due to intense downpours.

The floods, after unusually heavy and early rainfall in recent weeks, have piled more pressure on Iraq’s new government to provide services and fix infrastructure in provinces hard-hit by the 2014-17 war against Daesh, and by years of neglect that critics blame on corruption.


Thousands in Egypt attacked by stray dogs: Ministry

In this Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, stray dogs rest in front of the Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 25 min 13 sec ago
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Thousands in Egypt attacked by stray dogs: Ministry

  • Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad has said the ministry is ready to address the crisis of stray dogs

CAIRO: There have been 6,241 cases of people being hospitalized after being attacked by stray dogs in Egypt’s Menoufia governorate during the past four months, the Ministry of Health and Population said in a report.
Ahmed Kamel, one of those injured, said the dogs are everywhere, but no action has been taken by the authorities despite complaints from residents.
“We fear street dogs for our children. They’re attacking us ferociously. A dog attacked me after I left my house,” he added.
“I defended myself and tried to hit him with a stone, but he sank his teeth into my feet. I had to go to the health center and they gave me a vaccine.”
Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad has said the ministry is ready to address the crisis of stray dogs.
Meanwhile, a report by the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Directorate of Health Affairs in Menoufia revealed that 759 people have been hospitalized due to rat bites so far this year.
Dr. Hassan Shafiq, deputy head of the Egyptian Veterinary Service, said rat bites can transmit deadly diseases.
Rats “live next to ponds, marshes and plantations, and feed mainly on … grains, fruits and vegetables, so they are often responsible for crop damage,” he added.