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Cablegate: Flash Floods Hit Erbil Province

VZCZCXRO8268
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2936 3080648
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040648Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5335
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 002936

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/I

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID IZ TU
SUBJECT: FLASH FLOODS HIT ERBIL PROVINCE

1. (U) This is an RRT Erbil cable.

2. (U) Summary: On October 31, up to five inches of rain
fell in the Kurdistan Region resulting in flash flooding in
several mountainous sub-districts, particularly in Erbil
Province. A woman and her young child died, and 200 adobe
houses were damaged or destroyed. The Governor of Erbil,
Nawzad Hadi, visited the affected area, declared an
emergency, and asked for help from the Government of Iraq and
the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG.) The Governorate and
the NGO community are leading the relief efforts. The RRT is
preparing a QRF grant and is arranging to visit the area.
Flooding is common this time of year. End Summary.

3. (U) In the mountainous areas of the Kurdistan Region,
deforestation, over-grazing, and erosion over the last 20
years have increased the instability of the soil and the
probability of mudslides in the mountainous areas of the
Kurdistan Region. Heavy rains on the night of October 31
lead to flash-flooding in the two sub-districts of Piran and
Goratoo in the Mergasur District of Erbil Province. A
30-year old woman and her two year-old daughter were killed
in the flooding. Another three individuals were injured.
200 adobe houses in the area were either damaged or
destroyed, and several roads were made impassable by
landslides. The Governor, who visited the area on Sunday,
has declared the area in a state of emergency and assembled a
committee of local government officials headed by the Mayor
of Mergasur to coordinate relief efforts.
4. (U) As part of the initial response, local teamshave
started working on clearing the two main roads that were
closed as well as repairing downed power lines. The Iraqi
Red Crescent is providing non-food item (NFI) kits. The Mayor
of Mergasur told the RRT that the displaced families will
temporarily stay with other families. The KRG Ministry of
Reconstruction will send a delegation to visit the area in
the next few days. Once damage has been assessed, the
ministry will create a plan for rebuilding the area. A
delegation from President Barzani,s office inspected the
damage November 2. Local press reported on November 2 that
Vice President Biden called President Barzani to discuss the
election law and gave his condolences regarding the flooding
victims.
5. (U) Humanitarian NGOs, including the Iraqi Red Crescent
Society, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and
Development, the International Organization of Migration, and
the International Committee of the Red Cross travelled to the
area on November 2 to conducts needs assessments. RRT staff
have been in contact with these NGOs, as well as with the
Mayor of Mergasur and the Governor of Erbil. The United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told RRT that it was
providing 117 packages of non-food items, including hygiene
kits, and discussing the possible need for tents with local
officials. The RRT is in the process of preparing a Quick
Response Fund grant, pending a list of needed items from the
mayor,s office. RRT Team leader and staff are arranging a
visit to the area in the coming days.
6. (U) Comment. Fortunately, only a few localities
experienced significant damage from the flash flooding, nor
were there large casualty numbers. Local press only started
reporting on the flooding late November 1. Vice President
Biden,s condolences, along with civilian and military U.S.
offers of help are appreciate by local authorities. End
Comment.
HILL

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