UN ‘prepared to help’ Iraqi government after floods hit northern cities

Published: Updated:

Heavy rains and floods have swept many Iraqi provinces since early on Friday, causing normal traffic to come to a standstill and prompting local governments in some areas to stop official work.

At least seven people died and thousands fled their homes in flash floodsaround the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat on Friday, its mayor said.

The United Nations has announced its readiness to participate in international and local humanitarian assistance by supporting the specialized agencies of the Iraqi government in providing assistance to tens of thousands of victims of the severe floods that have swept many areas of Salahuddin and Nineveh governorates.

“The United Nations, as always, is there to provide support to the government and the authorities of the country to provide assistance to its citizens,” the statement said.

The statement also stressed the continued support of the UN during this emergency, noting: “We assess the situation to see where we can help the government of Iraq in responding to these severe floods”.

Footage from the state-run Iraqi News Agency showed people in Salahuddin province, where Shirqat is located, escaping their half-submerged homes in small boats.

“Some 3,000 people are now homeless after fleeing their villages,” Shirqat Mayor Ali Dodah said.

Officials in Tikrit, the Salahuddin provincial capital, called for rescue helicopters to be sent to help with evacuations.