Seven dead in floods north of Iraqi capital

Samarra: Four children and three women were killed Friday as heavy floods submerged thousands of homes in a district of northern Iraq, a local official told AFP.

Three other people were unaccounted for, said Ali Dawdah, the mayor of Al-Sharqat, a town 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad.

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

Iraq and neighbouring 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.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]