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Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Floods caused by torrential rainstorms killed four hikers in the Sulaimaniyah region of northern Iraq on Friday, local officials told AFP.

“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.

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 Erbil 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 in 2024 was “better than last year”.

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