Iraq - Floods: Update No. 1 (as of 3 April 2019)

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 03 Apr 2019

This report is produced by OCHA Iraq in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 24-March to 2-April 2019

Highlights

  • Heavy seasonal rains caused flooding and damage in several governorates over a 10-day period

  • Central and northern governorates worst-affected, primarily regions through which the Tigris River runs and those areas adjacent to Iran

  • Governmental crisis cells have been activated in both federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq where necessary

  • Humanitarian response needs are largely being met by Civil Defense teams and NGOs; OCHA is monitoring sectoral needs

  • Mosul Dam deemed “safe,” and in no danger of exceeding its capacity; other dams throughout Iraq at or near capacity, but authorities report water levels are within manageable levels

  • Limited damage reported in a small number of IDP camps; contingency planning and preparedness measures had been put in place after earlier flooding episodes

Situation Overview

On 24-March-2019, meteorological authorities alerted the public to the possibility of heavy rains and flooding throughout Iraq. Severe weather is a normal feature of Iraq’s winter season, and this most recent episode follows other periods of torrential rainfall in November/December 2018. However, the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and humanitarian actors had engaged in contingency planning and preparedness measures to ensure they were better equipped to deploy emergency response activities in reaction to the latest bout of flooding.

Heavy storms continually recurred throughout the country during the period from 24-March to 2-April when severe weather finally eased. The effects of the storms were recorded in multiple governorates, including Anbar, Basra, Dahuk, Diyala, Kirkuk, Missan, Muthanna, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Sulaymaniyah, and Wassit; however, the harshest impacts appeared to be in central and northern governorates, primarily regions through which the Tigris River runs, and those areas adjacent to Iran. (The Iranian provinces of Lorestan, Khuzestan and Ilam, which border eastern Iraq, were also profoundly affected by severe weather; the Government of Iran did not formally request international assistance, but OCHA has temporarily surged staff to assist in monitoring the response, which was welcomed by the authorities.)

While flooding in Mosul (Ninewa governorate), caused the closure of five main bridges (Alnasr, Alhurriyya, Qanatir, Suwais and Qayyarah), municipal authorities gave assurances on 2-April that Mosul Dam—Iraq’s largest, which supplies hydroelectric power to Mosul city—was functioning normally. Other dams throughout Iraq, particularly in Diyala governorate, were operating at or near capacity; however, provincial leadership expressed confidence that standard discharge and overflow functions would suffice to meet any surplus.

No fatalities have been recorded due to the recent period of severe weather in Iraq, although approximately 90 casualties have been reported in Iran and Afghanistan due to related heavy rains and flooding.

Kirkuk, Salah al-Din and Sulaymaniyah governorates were among those most acutely impacted by the severe weather. Coordination and response efforts in these regions outlined in more detail below.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.