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Iraq suspends working hours amid heavy rainfall due to the effects of the climate crisis

Iraqis make their way on a horse cart through a flooded street after heavy rain fell in Baghdad, Iraq, 20 November 2013.
Iraqis make their way on a horse cart through a flooded street after heavy rain fell in Baghdad, Iraq, 20 November 2013. Copyright Karim Kadim/AP
Copyright Karim Kadim/AP
By Euronews with AP
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Government office operations have been halted in Iraq amid flooding due to the effects of the climate crisis.

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Iraq suspended government office operations on Monday due to heavy rainfall and bad weather conditions.

Torrential downpours accompanied by strong windstorms and floods caused significant damage in the provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Najaf, Diwaniyah and Wasit on Sunday. 

On Monday, the country's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani directed the suspension of working hours in all provinces.

Some schools were also closed due to the weather.

How bad is the flooding in Iraq?

Iraq has been hit with monsoon rains, causing flooding in some areas.

Water levels rose in many of the provinces, including Najaf, where water swept into houses and cars, shops and workplaces were submerged. 

Several families were forced to leave their homes due to the unexpected downpour in the worst hit neighbourhood. The historic Great Mosque of Kufa and the Najaf International Airport were also affected.

The suspension of working hours excludes security and service intuitions, according to a statement from the Iraqi government’s general secretariat. 

No casualties have been reported. 

How is climate change impacting Iraq?

Iraq is the fifth-most vulnerable nation in the world to the effects of climate change, including water and food insecurity.

Over the last 40 years, water flows from the Euphrates and Tigris, which provide up to 98 per cent of the country's surface water, have decreased by 30 to 40 per cent, according to the UN. 

Last year, low rainfall levels and high temperatures caused by climate change depleted water supplies across the country. 

Much of Iraq’s agricultural lands depend on irrigation, but dams and reservoirs were at record-low levels in the summer of 2021. Seawater is pushing into southern lands due to low river water levels. Resulting soil salinity is threatening agriculture.

Iraq's historic marshlands in the south are also drying up, while temperatures are soaring. The southern city of Basra recorded nearly 54°C in 2021.

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