Over 200 families evacuated after rising river level in eastern Iraq

More than 200 families in two villages were evacuated on Saturday after the serious flooding caused by the rising water level of the Diyala River in eastern Iraq, an official said.

The families were evacuated from the villages of Kharnabat and Huweder in the north of Baquba, provincial capital of Diyala Province, after the water level reached the edges of the two villages, Abdullah al-Haiyaly, mayor of Baquba, told Xinhua.

The evacuation took place smoothly with the families transferred to safer areas, al-Haiyaly said.

Large areas of orchards were covered with water with the rise of the water level in Diyala River basin during the past few days, the mayor added.

“The rise of water for a longer time will damage the orchards and we are concerned about the continuing rise of water,” al-Haiyaly noted.

The water levels in Tigris River and its tributaries have increased in central and southern Iraq during the past days because of the heavy rains and torrents which raised the water level to danger points.

Moreover, many areas in eastern and southern Iraq, near the border with Iran, have been affected by torrents from the mountainous areas in western Iran, which also suffer from heavy rains and torrents.

On Tuesday, Khudher al-Obeidi, a member of Diyala provincial council, said all the five dams in the eastern province are completely filled for the first time in many years.

“The dams of Mandali, Qazanyah, Himreen, al-Adhaim and al-Wand, which have a total storage capacity of more than four billion cubic meters of water, were completely filled for the first time in the near history of Diyala Province,” al-Obeidi said.

The serious threat of flooding pushed Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to head several meetings with a crisis group formed to discuss and evaluate plans to control the floods and the expected rise of the water level of the river.