December 26, 2012 - 21:02 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The worst rains to hit Baghdad in 30 years left four people dead and many of the Iraqi capital's residents struggling to cope with heavy flooding on Wednesday, Dec 26, as the government declared a national holiday, according to The Gulf Today.
Police said an unusually heavy rainstorm collapsed shoddy houses, killing a woman and three children.
A police officer said a house in the town of Mohammed Al Sakran, about 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, collapsed Tuesday night, killing the three children and their aunt.
The parents were injured, he said, adding that five other people were injured when two mud houses collapsed in the outskirts of Baghdad's rundown Sadr City slum.
Two health officials confirmed the causality figures.
Patients reported long and difficult journeys to hospitals, shopkeepers complained of a lack of business and several roads were immersed in water, in some cases as much as waist-high.
In the predominantly-Shiite northeastern district of Sadr City, the area surrounding Fatima Al Zahra hospital was completely flooded, and patients said trips that normally took 15 minutes had taken them as long as two hours.
The Iraqi Meteorological Organization reported on Wednesday that 6.75 centimeters of rain fell in Baghdad a day earlier, which its chief said was the highest such figure in 30 years.
The heavy rain spurred the government to declare Wednesday a national holiday, the fourth time this year it has been forced to do so because of bad weather.
The other three were due to heat during Iraq's boiling summer.
The rain also affected shopkeepers who saw dramatically lower sales as a result of the flooding.