BAGHDAD — Iraq’s state-run Meteorological Department said on Saturday that it had registered the hottest day so far this year, with maximum temperatures hitting 129 degrees in the southern city of Basra.

Friday’s merciless heat in Basra forced the majority of the residents to almost abandon the streets or to swim in the river. Increasing the’ suffering were chronic electricity outages, caused mainly by the decline in electricity imported from neighboring Iran.

Temperatures are expected to hover around 120 degrees in Basra and continue to decline in the coming days. Temperatures in Baghdad are expected to hit 113 degrees.

The Iraqi Meteorological Department has said that this week’s highs were well above average for this time of year. The heat is expected to decline nationwide, but a similarly unforgiving heat wave is expected next month.

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.

The heat waves in recent years only added to the woes Iraqis have endured since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, including daily violence, political wrangling, poor public services, a massive exodus abroad of professionals and high rates of serious crime like kidnappings for ransom, armed robberies and contract killings.

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