Middle East

Iraq declares 2-day public holiday due to heatwave

The Iraqi government has announced a two-day mandatory official holiday beginning Wednesday due to a heat wave.

Tuesday's statement, issued by the Iraqi Cabinet, says temperatures are set to soar above 50 degrees Celsius (123 degrees Fahrenheit). It is the first heat advisory issued by the Iraqi government this summer.

The public holiday will apply to all government workers.

High temperatures in summer are common in Iraq, and endemic electricity outages make life harder for Iraqis when temperatures soar. To cope with the heat, Iraqis either stay indoors or swim in rivers. In some public places, showers are set up for those who want to cool down.

It is not uncommon for such public holidays to be declared when heat waves hit during Iraq's long, hot summers.