Iraq rainstorm flooding kills hikers, officials say

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

“Four members of a hiking team drowned because of heavy rains and flooding in Awaspi village” in the Qaradah district, local official Rouf Kamal said. 

Civil defense spokesperson Aram Ali confirmed the toll and said eight other hikers survived the incident south of Sulaimaniyah on Friday, the autonomous Kurdistan region’s second city. 

He said a weather warning was issued Thursday, with hikers particularly urged to avoid mountainous areas. 

Heavier than usual rainfall has caused flooding in several parts of Iraq, especially the north, and some roads in Kurdistan region capital Arbil 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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