Remember Safwan ?

Did it rain when you were Over There ?

  • nope - nary a drop

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  • You kidding? good job I can swim!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Coupla times - no biggie

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I wish !

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  • Total voters


Book Reviewer
pic from defencenet story at

An aerial shot of the flooded area in Safwan [Picture: Corporal Will Craig, Combat Camera Team, Basra Press Information Centre]

British soldiers have been quick to provide assistance to the people of Safwan in southern Iraq after flooding forced hundreds of them to abandon their homes.

A torrential rainstorm overnight on Thursday 12 January 2006 saw 12½ cm (5 inches) of rain fall in three hours in the town. As a result, 1,300 residents were faced with no choice but to leave their houses and take shelter in a local community hall.
Relief efforts are being co-ordinated by the local Iraqi authorities with assistance from the Red Crescent, British, US and Kuwaiti Armies.

An initial assessment of the help they could provide was made by C Squadron, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in conjunction with the local authorities. Supplies of bottled water and hot food for the flooding victims were driven down that evening to Safwan from Shaibah Logistics Base near Basra and distributed by soldiers from the 9th/12th Lancers Battle Group.

Major Chris Columbus, the officer responsible for liaison with the Safwan Town Council, emphasised the importance of the joint effort by the British Forces and Iraqi Emergency Services. He said:

"We have been available to assist the Iraqi Security Forces in their response to this situation. After a meeting with the Town Council it was agreed the British Forces would provide what provisions we could and these have now been distributed as part of the Iraqi response."

The border crossing-point with Kuwait at Safwan was under three feet of water in places and was closed for several hours. The water level has now begun to clear after the Iraqis and United States Army engineers pumped over 1 million gallons (4,546,090 litres) of water out of the area and the Kuwaiti Army's efforts to dig channels to drain away the surface water.
Captain Will Hay, a Royal Engineer attached to the 9th/12th Lancers Battle Group was on hand to provide advice to the town council, he said:

"With this amount of water present on the ground a number of channels needed to be dug. Thanks to the co-operation between the Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities the standing water is now starting to drain away."

During their relief efforts, British soldiers rescued a man trapped overnight when the flood waters caused a wall of his house to fall on top of him, injuring his leg. A vehicle patrol was mounted to rescue the man and he was taken to the local health centre.

It could be another 10-15 days before the water levels in Safwan subside enough to allow residents back into their homes. With so many locals temporarily homeless, the Iraqi Red Crescent has erected a temporary tented camp and has been distributing supplies. About 30 tents have now been put up north of Safwan and the Iraqi Red Crescent is now in the final stages of preparation before allowing locals to move into them. Fire Engines are continuing to pump out the water and excavators are putting in berms and trenches to channel the water. Should it rain heavily again these berms will hopefully prevent any further flooding.

The Commanding Officer of the 9th /12th Lancers Battle Group, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stuart, is keen for his soldiers to continue their liaison with the Safwan Town Council until they are no longer required on the ground. He said:
"We are working closely with the local authorities and it is because of the good working relationship Major Bartholomew and his soldiers have built up with the locals that we have been able to respond in the manner we have. The town council phoned us direct to ask for assistance and the Deputy Governor of Basra said that the British help was very important and has thanked us for our efforts."

British Forces will remain on standby to provide assistance and advice as the Iraqi authorities work hard to improve conditions in Safwan over the coming days.
I cannot imagine that place in torrential rain....bizarre :D

Lee Shaver

...and yes, some names may have been changed to protect the innocent....
Yes it did rain on both trips to Iraq, too bloody much :)

I wouldn't have bothered changing the names, the press used their real names...


Book Reviewer
Nige said:
Yes it did rain on both trips to Iraq, too bloody much :)

I wouldn't have bothered changing the names, the press used their real names...
No need to compound their error !

I remember seeing a single spot of rain....but since there was no electricity available at the time I couldn't be sure it was raining....hope your next tour coincides with the dry season....ah, those balmy 32 degrees C midnights with the moon rising over the Shatt :lol: .....

BTW, take a look at this month's Soldier magazine p.9...I'm sure you'll be pleased to learn that
As at the end of November,applications for some 94,486 awards [Op Telic Medal] had been approved, leaving a backlog of just over 1,000 to be assessed.
Hope yours arrives before you arrive back in the Sandbox ;-)
Nige said:
Yes it did rain on both trips to Iraq, too bloody much :)
I well remember the night of hell that either removed or flooded most of our tents on Telic 1 - just down the road from Safwan. Wonderful fireworks display in the distance at 10pm and a very soggy start to the day at 0500hrs when I slowly became aware that I might have p***** the bed.....except I was at the lowest point in the tent (there is a lesson there) and the rising water came into contact with my b*m before anybody else suffered! Dawn found two of us engaging in trenching works that would have impressed the builders of the Aswan Dam. It took me three days to dry out - and I lost several bits and pieces that were irreplaceable!

Don't let anyone tell you that it doesn't rain in Iraq!

Pished down like hell during the first bunfight. Who thought deserts were hot and dry :D

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