Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Sunday declared an emergency in areas overwhelmed by "torrential rainwater that exceeded drainage capacity," the Daily Star of Lebanon reported. Heavy rain has caused widespread flooding and multiple deaths after multiple days of rain in the country.
In a statement, Abadi announced the "mobilization" of ministries, provinces, security forces, civil defense and civilian volunteers for rescue efforts in Baghdad and elsewhere where major flooding has resulted in deaths and health problems, the Daily Star reported.
Iraq was hit by multiple days of heavy rain that, when combined with the country's aging infrastructure, caused major flooding in Baghdad and other areas, resulting in deaths and health problems. In areas of Baghdad where infrastructure is decrepit, streets and houses were flooded with rainwater and sewage. Some areas are still flooded despite days of clear weather following the rains.
The rare rainstorms began late Wednesday and continued into Thursday, the New York Times reported. The Iraqi government declared a holiday Thursday so people could avoid trying to get to work or school.
“We are your brothers, and we are here to serve the citizens of Iraq,” a police officer in central Baghdad said on the state-run Iraqiya television network, the New York Times reported.
Thousands of people living in tent camps have been displaced by rivers of mud and violence, the Daily Star reported. More and possibly heavier rain is forecast in the coming days, making more flooding likely.
The Economist reported in 2014 Iraq's electrical system had yet to recover after decades of sanctions and war. Iraqis have endured poor public services; government-supplied electricity shuts off for much of the day during summer.
Abadi announced reform steps earlier this year after Iraqis protested in the streets over poor services and corruption, but they have yet to brings real or lasting change, the Daily Star said.