At least seven people, including children, have been killed and thousands have been forced to flee their homes after heavy rains triggered flash floods in northern Iraq.
Officials told the dpa news agency on Friday that the seven people were killed when floods hit the al-Houreya village in Salahuddin province.
Ali Dodah, the mayor of Shirqat, a town 260km northwest of Baghdad and around 80km south of Mosul, said rains had flooded houses and farms with “some 3,000 people now homeless”.
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.
The Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported that the floods had damaged a camp housing at least 30 internally displaced Yazidi families, with residents facing temperatures hovering around zero.
“This has been our life for three years. Nobody is helping us. We go to the manager [of the camp], he says go to the local mayor. Nobody recognises us,” one Yazidi man was quoted as saying.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) systematically killed, captured, and enslaved thousands of Yazidis in the summer of 2014 as they overran the Sinjar area, where many of the minority group lived. UN investigators have said it constituted genocide.
The floods, after unusually heavy and early rainfall in recent weeks, have piled more pressure on Iraq’s new government to provide services and fix infrastructure in provinces hard-hit by the 2014-17 war against ISIL, also known as ISIS, and by years of neglect that critics blame on corruption.