Two IDPs swept away by Dohuk floods, one missing, lately married

A picture of Mahmoud Muhannad and Omar Mahmoud, with a scene from the Dohuk floods in the background, Duhok, March 2024. Ammar Aziz

By Ammar Aziz in Duhok

Mahmoud rushed to save Omar, who was stuck in the middle of the torrents, but the strong torrential wave swept them both away within seconds, and their trace was lost.

On the morning of March 19, 2024, floods swept through the center of the city of Dohuk, specifically near the industrial district, and flooded most of its streets.

“As the video clip showed, the floods swept away Mahmoud and Omar together. Police attempts to save them did not succeed and the two drowned,” said Maan Ghanem, Mahmoud’s father-in-law.

The video clip, which spread quickly on social media, shows police officers trying to extract them using a rope, but the rope broke and they disappeared.

Mahmoud Muhannad (22 years old) got married seven months ago. He is the nephew of Omar Mahmoud (47 years old), whose second marriage has only been nine months.

The two are Internally Displaced Persons IDPs from Nineveh, and they were residing in rented houses in Dohuk Northern Province, and working together in the field of installing air ducts for air coolers.

Omar and one of his workers went to work that day, but the floods trapped them on a bridge near the indsutrial neighborhood, Ghanem told (KirkukNow).

“At that time, he called my daughter’s husband (Mahmoud) to rescue him, and he arrived at the place in a car quickly. He tried hard the policemen to rescue him, but he also fell into the floodwaters."

A video documenting the moments when the floods swept away both Mahmoud and Omar

The floods claimed the lives of three people in Dohuk, including Omar and Mahmoud, and the bodies of two of them were recovered. It caused damages to 1,500 houses and 213 vehicles, according to a toll announced by Dohuk Civil Defense Directorate.

The body of one of the drowned people was found on March 28, but it was not possible to determine its identity, while the families of Mahmoud and Omar are waiting for the results of the tests to know which of them the body belongs to.

Bewar Abdul Aziz, media official of the Civil Defense Directorate in Dohuk, told KirkukNow, “The body was found two kilometers from the place where they were swept away by the torrential rains, and it is located opposite the Shindokha neighborhood in the vicinity of the Hashkru River.”

He indicated that the body was transferred to the Forensic Medicine Department to determine his identity.

“No identification was found with the bodies, and it is impossible to identify their identities because they swelled due to being in the water for a long time.”

Civil Defense teams continue their search for the bodies of missing persons in various areas of Dohuk, especially in the Hishkaru River in central Dohuk.

"The Hishkaru River extends a long distance. It starts from the city of Dohuk and reaches Khanky sub-district and from there flows into the Mosul Dam. Five teams go out every day to search for missing persons," according to Abdulaziz, who confirmed that search operations will continue until the other bodies are found.

Mahmoud and Omar, like more than 600,000 IDPs in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, were living in difficult conditions, so their families’ main demand is to compensate their families with a house or at least an apartment.

“Both of them were workers and their living conditions were not good. We ask for compensation of their families so that they can get rid of life in rented houses,” and demanded that the other body be quickly found.

dhok tarm (2)
The search operation for the bodies of those missing as a result of the Dohuk floods, Dohuk, March 2024. Civil Defense in Dohuk

The Iraqi Parliament formed a committee to investigate and assess the damage caused by the floods in Dohuk, but has not yet decided to allocate any amounts to compensate those affected.

A day after the floods, a 16-year-old Ezidi (Yazidi) young man named Rozhvan Idris Shamo went missing. His family suspected that the floods had swept him away.

Adel Arab, the young man’s uncle, told KirkukNow, “Rozhvan had left the house since that afternoon and did not return. According to what was monitored by surveillance cameras and some other evidence, he drowned as a result of the floods. The search for his body is still ongoing.”

The Civil Defense has suspicions that Rozhvan drowned, but the (KirkukNow) reporter was unable to confirm the statements of the young man’s uncle because had no chance to check the surveillance camera CCTV recordings and evidence he spoke about.

“The young man’s father checked with us and said that his son drowned, but the incident has not been verified and there are no eyewitnesses. All we know is that the young man is missing. We cannot decide anything until there is conclusive evidence,” Abdulaziz explained.

  • FB
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YT