Flooding in central and southern Iraq killed at least 11 people as rising waters swamped city streets and toppled buildings, sparking anger over the dilapidated sewage system, officials said Wednesday.
Three days of driving rain led to flooding in the capital, as well as major cities in the south, including Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah and Hilla, sparking protests among residents angry over poor public services.
“What is happening is because of the government,” said Ali Hussein, a protester in Nasiriyah.
“There must be real measures taken after what has happened. They should take things seriously, as the conditions here are really bad.”
Six people died in building collapses caused by flooding in Nasiriyah, while two women and a child were killed in similar circumstances in Diwaniyah.
In Babil province, south of Baghdad, two children died as a result of collapsing buildings, while more than 50 families had to take shelter at a tourist resort after their houses flooded.
Authorities have in recent weeks tried to limit the damage of the rain by declaring national holidays, with one instituted earlier in the month.
Heavy rains in December 2012 caused severe flooding, prompting the government to take similar action.
Oil-rich Iraq is still plagued by crumbling infrastructure and poor services more than 10 years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and Iraqis have long struggled with frequent power outages, high unemployment and rampant corruption.