Iraq floods leave at least 21 dead
Heavy rains have battered Iraq over the past two days leading to intense flooding, the health ministry and United Nations said on Sunday, with a large number of dead and tens of thousands displaced.
Women and children were among the 21 dead, health ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr told AFP, some of whom had drowned. Other victims died in car accidents, were electrocuted, or were trapped when their houses collapsed.
At least 180 more were injured, he added.
Iraq and neighbouring countries have experienced heavier-than-average rainfall in recent weeks, resulting in deaths and widespread damage.
Northern Iraq has been worst hit, the UN country office said, with flooding forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes.
An estimated 10,000 people in Salahaddin province and 15,000 people in Nineveh are in desperate need of help, including refugee families, the UN said.
In the al-Sharqat district in Salahaddin, about 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad, thousands of homes were left totally underwater by the rains.
Heavy storms submerged two floating bridges along the Tigris river, which bisects Mosul.
These were used to bring government troops between Mosul's eastern and western halves during the campaign against the Islamic State group, after its bridges were all bombed by the international coalition.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi announced Friday he was establishing a "crisis cell" of security forces and local authorities to coordinate a response.
The ministries of electricity, oil, and trade also said they would help in the efforts.
Despite being one of the hottest countries on the planet, heavy rains do hit Iraq, which can result in casualties because of deteriorating public infrastructure.
In 2015, 58 Iraqis were killed in floods and cases of electrocution due to intense downpours.