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Minor Earthquake Shakes Baghdad, Authorities Calm Public against Floods

Minor Earthquake Shakes Baghdad, Authorities Calm Public against Floods

Tuesday, 2 April, 2019 - 09:00
The Tigris River flowing through Baghdad. (Reuters)
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi

A senior Iraqi official reassured Baghdad residents against the dangers of flashfloods and heavy downpours, expected to last through the coming few days. Similarly, the Iraqi Meteorological Organization and Seismology released a statement on the small earthquake felt by the capital’s residents.

Noting that the main shock source was Iran, the Organization calmed residents by confirming there will be no aftershocks.

In parallel, government media said Iraqi authorities will be taking a host of measures to alleviate the negative effects of climate change felt in the country.

Baghdad irrigation official, Khaled Shamal reassured locals and residents that the capital was safe and faces no threat of floods and getting submerged by heavy rain.

“With the Tigris running through Baghdad, water pours into it, helping keep water flows under control. Water levels remain at a quarter of the Tigris’ capacity,” Shamal told Asharq Al-Awsat, noting that excess water flowing from the Mosul Dam and its tributaries is diverted and stored in Anbar province.

He went on to reveal that the country’s Finance Ministry had formed a high committee to monitor and regulate dam activity across the country and uphold safety measures.

Last week, the government allocated 500 million dinars to the provinces of Basra and Maysan, which are vulnerable to floods. The fund is meant to cover preventative and emergency action against flooding.

Downplaying a strong warning by a Diyala governorate official on imminent disaster striking the region as Hamrin Lake, Shamal said that drainage operations are ongoing and that there was no reason for concern.

Nationwide, Iraq has a total storage space of about 40 billion cubic meters of water, he added.

Nevertheless, the risk of transferring the brunt of flashfloods in Iran into Iraqi border populations remains a concern.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, for his part, called on the Diyala governor to hold an expanded meeting in Baghdad to discuss the potential crossing of flashfloods from Iran into the eastern governorate.

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