Researcher Shatha Khalil *
The Ministry of Water Resources warned in its letter No. 1035 dated 31/3/2019 addressed to the Governor of Salahaddin, warned of the arrival of high discharges in the Khoser River and other valleys in Nineveh province, in addition to the releases of Mosul dam and the arrival of the level of Tigris River in the district of Al-Sharqat to 150.72 above sea level, discharging 4218 m 3 / s.
The letter refers to the direction of the administrative units for the purpose of informing citizens living in the basin of the river north of Mosul to evacuate their areas immediately noting that Mosul is far from Baghdad, the capital (450 km north).
Qaimaqam of Mosul, Mr. Zuhair Muhsen Al-Aragi noted in a statement, ” In reference to the letter No. (9246) dated 2019/3/26 of the water resources to instruct and direct the citizens in Nineveh province to take caution and to be aware and vigilant, especially the houses located on the banks of the Tigris River in the areas ( Hawi al-Kanisa , Hawi al-Jawsaq ,Jarmeja , al-Salamya Bisan and Rashidiya areas).
The warning comes due to the increase of the river’s levels as shown in the book, which reaches from 1500 to 2000 cubic meters, and then to 2500 cubic meters, a height of 70 to 150 cm, so the need to notify “.
The Iraqi Council of Ministers have warned the concerned governorates and relevant authorities, to take the necessary measures to control the rise of the level of Tigris River and its tributaries as a result of continuous rain and may cause the opening of “flood crackers”, threatening to flood seven Iraqi governorates ” Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Baghdad,Diyala , Wasit, Maysan and Dhi Qar “, and warned to stay away from the banks of the river.
Iraq has witnessed after the severe drought of the Tigris and Euphrates which was reflected on the Iraqi provinces last summer, heavy rains and sweeping torrents and floods in many areas, including the capital Baghdad, and most of the provinces of Iraq suffer major damage to its infrastructure due to the crises experienced by the country and the rampant corruption .
According to experts, Iraq recorded during the current winter the highest rainfall compared to the average recorded during the past ten years.
One of the main causes of these floods is the global warming phenomena, as the excess heat energy means an increase in the intensity of the discharge of the energy at the same time, that is, the earth is trying to get rid of additional thermal energy through an increase in violence and the number of thunder clouds that develop into hurricanes in the tropics that are combined with air depressions especially those that are formed in the middle and upper displays.
The water resources expert, Ali al-Lami, said that Iraq was not thinking of taking advantage of the floods and water, and they were not of great importance to it , but it began now, trying to control, and then benefit from it , especially after the drought that hit the country during the past years .
Iraq has not seen such floods for 70 years, according to weather forecasters, and that the water file needs a large work of scientists, researchers, experts and national agencies noting that some of the dams are not yet completed, and Iraq needs to activate its services to its contribution to water management.
Iraq has no water- discharge stations except the eastern marshes and Shatt al-Arab, although the marshes are full.
In the province of Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, the experts pointed out that the province of Sulaymaniyah can absorb the bulk of water because of its geographical nature, pointing out that the greatest danger is Diyala and Wasit because of the flat borders.
For his part, the director of meteorological conditions in the city of Sulaymaniyah , Aso Ahmed said , the region is going through a period of unstable weather in terms of amount of rainfall.
Losses caused by torrential rains and rising water and rainfall:
The floods caused the collapse of dozens of houses and bridges, roads and the interruption of services, attributed by observers to the deterioration of infrastructure, and the disruption of sewage drains being old and lack of maintenance and development , in Baghdad, rain flooded houses and closed roads and tunnels, and caused the disruption of electricity to a number of neighborhoods, as well as the difficulty of the arrival of employees to their work and students to their schools.
Minefields in Diyala province, east of Baghdad : The human rights office in Diyala province (near the border with Iran) expressed grave concern that the torrential rains could cause the transfer of what he called the “death fields” to the people.
The office added , Iraqi-Iranian border on the Diyala direction is full of very large minefields (left since the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s), according to preliminary information includes tens of thousands of unexploded ordnance, which poses a serious threat to the citizens.
The floods have swept 10 villages in Diyala border province with Iran, which was leveled with ground by the floods that swept the eastern region in the past few days, leaving 6 civilians dead, dozens of houses destroyed, hundreds of animals killed and about 1,000 civilians displaced.
Here, one must pay attention to the need to take advantage of the water that flowed into these villages, but unfortunately, there are no rivers or large reservoirs that accommodate the water, and the dam located in the opposite direction of these floods, and therefore the rainwater went away causing considerable material losses.
In western Iraq, floods and rains have drowned dozens of villages and displaced people after municipalities and civil defense failed to control and reduce the crisis.
In the center of the country, the provinces of Babil, Wasit, Karbala and Najaf were subjected to heavy torrential rain led to the flooding of many neighborhoods .
The city of Kut in the province of Wasit and other areas in the province of Najaf are subject to floods, which led to the drowning of entire neighborhoods, and caused great damage to dozens of homes, which led dozens of families to displacement.
In areas north of Basra, more than 40,000 dunums of agricultural land were damaged and flooding of lands and homes.
Water and air conditions experts warned of the danger of floods coming from Iran towards Iraq, and that continuous rains in both countries are a real threat to all Iraqi provinces and threaten oil facilities in the south as the floods swept towards the Majnoon field east of Basra province but the government has rushed to save the field and worked to strengthen the dams surrounding it and control it.
In Mosul, in the north of the country, rains have forced the closure of major popular markets, after flooding shops and entire streets.
observers estimate that the material losses caused by the floods are amounted by billions and the need to develop real and urgent plans, rather than patchwork solutions, to benefit from rainwater and protect the lives and property of citizens, noting that thousands of families have been affected by floods in various Iraqi governorates and cities and solutions often do not reach the disaster level.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies