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Thursday, December 27, 2012
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Heavy rains flood Iraq capital; 4 killed

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 yesterday as the government declared a national holiday.

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-Shia 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.

A medic who spoke on condition of anonymity said four family members -- two men and two women -- were killed and another woman injured when their house in the northeastern outskirts collapsed Tuesday night due to the heavy rainfall.

The Iraqi Meteorological Organisation reported on Wednesday that 6.75 centimetres (2.56 inches) of rain fell in Baghdad a day earlier, which its chief said was the highest such figure in 30 years.

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