Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Rapid floods in Iran’s south cause deaths, damage due to heavy rains and are expected to last until later this week.

At least eight people have been killed in flash floods in southern Iran due to heavy rains that are expected to last until later this week, state media reported.

“After the floods and rains of the past few days in the southern regions of the country, we have seen an increase in casualties and deaths,” national rescue service spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi said on Tuesday, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

“So far, eight people have been killed and two are still missing,” Khaledi said, adding that 14 others were injured.

Five of the deaths occurred in Fars province, local crisis management officer Rahim Azadi told the state news agency.

A local official said Monday that at least two people had been killed in flash floods in the province.

Heavy rains damaged “agriculture, infrastructure, urban and rural housing,” Azadi said.

Iran’s Red Crescent has provided “emergency accommodation for more than 3,000 people, and more than 20,000 have received emergency relief assistance,” Mehdi Valipour, head of rescue and emergency operations, told state television.

“Homes were flooded and infrastructure such as roads and communications systems were damaged,” he said, adding that more than 500 teams had provided assistance in parts of the country’s south and east.

Photos published by the Red Crescent showed his staff pitching tents in sports halls and assisting cars trapped on flooded roads or stuck in snow-capped mountain areas.

Emergency relief operations were underway in 87 cities in more than half of Iran’s 31 provinces, it added.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has asked local authorities in Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman, and Sistan and Baluchestan provinces to use “all their resources and capabilities” to help residents, IRNA reported.

President Ebrahim Raisi has instructed Ali Akbar Mehrabian, Minister of Energy, to inspect flood-hit areas in Sistan and Baluchestan and Hormozgan provinces, he added.

The weather system is expected to last until Friday, an Iranian meteorological agency official told state television.

Bad weather in recent days has affected not only southern Iran but also Arab countries in the Gulf, with several weather warnings.

Heavy rains have hit the United Arab Emirates, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, causing widespread flooding in the region.

Authorities in Oman reported heavy rainfall on Tuesday, urging citizens to avoid going to valleys and beaches due to rising water levels, the official Oman News Agency reported.

Omani police have closed several roads, including a highway in the capital Muscat, due to a significant “water congestion”, it added.

The Ministry of Education suspended classes and examinations in most parts of the sultanate.

Iran, which is mainly dry, has endured repeated droughts over the past decade, but also frequent floods.

In 2019, severe flooding in the country’s south at least left 76 people died and caused damage estimated at more than $ 2 billion.

Scientists say climate change exacerbates droughts and floods and that their intensity and frequency threaten food security.

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