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Heavy rainfall during the past four days flooded the streets in many Iraqi cities, including the capital Baghdad, forcing the Iraqi government to declare an emergency public holiday on Monday. The wave of heavy rainfall turned many of Baghdad's streets into rivers, paralyzing the traffic as many vehicles were trapped in dozens of huge puddles, particular in the downtown area.
Late on Sunday, the bad weather forced the Iraqi government to declare Monday as "a holiday for the state institutions except for Baghdad Mayoralty and the Ministries of Health and Municipalities. " In Baghada's old districts in the center, such as Qasir al- Abiyadh, as well as Baladiyat and Sadr City in the east, the floods entered many houses and cut some areas off from the rest of the city. "The heavy rain and the lack of services due to the weak performance of Baghdad Mayoralty led to this catastrophe," said Ahmed Ibrahim, whose car was caught in a flooded underpass in eastern Baghdad. "Poor drainage was behind this bad situation."
In Sadr City, Ali Hussein's home was flooded and his neighborhood was surrounded by floods. "Since yesterday, the water flooded into my house and damaged my furniture, we can't go out to buy food and I can't go to my work because all the roads are flooded," said Hussein, a 44-year- old father of four daughters. "We are using bricks and wood panels to step on when we move between the rooms," he said.
The Iraqi state meteorology body said that the rainfall is expected to continue on Monday and the weather will gradually turn clear in a few days. Baghdad Mayoralty said in a statement that "the rainfall was the heaviest in nearly two decades and was at much higher rates than normal... It (sewage system) requires some time to drain the water from some areas of the capital Baghdad, especially those located in Rusafa (east of Tigris River)." Since the US-led invasion in 2003, Iraq has long faced the lack of public services, which pushed many Iraqis to protest what they said corruption and incompetence of the government.
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