Iraq declares Thursday an official holiday due to heat wave

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's government has announced that Thursday will be an official holiday due to a scorching heatwave.

In a brief statement Wednesday, the Iraqi Cabinet said temperatures already have exceeded 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in some provinces.

Meteorological officials warned of a heat wave in central and southern Iraq starting Wednesday through Friday. The heat wave comes as Muslims are practicing dawn-to-dusk fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Such heatwaves in Iraq add to the population's hardships as the country suffers from a lack of electricity. To cope with high temperatures, Iraqis either stay indoors or swim in rivers. In some public places, showers are set up for those who want to cool down.