Days of deadly floods and landslides wreak havoc in Iran

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Dozens dead and at least 45 people are missing after most Iranian provinces were hit by the floods.

Tehran, Iran – More than a week of flooding and landslides across Iran have left dozens dead, while searches are underway to find many more missing.

At least 69 people have died in flooding across the country since the current Iranian month of Mordad began on July 23, Nejad Jahani, a delegate for the country’s Crisis Management Organization, said Sunday.

Another 22 people, all tourists sitting along or in dried-up rivers, died just before the month started after being overrun in the town of Estahban in southern Fars province.

Jahani told the state-run IRNA news website that 24 of Iran’s 31 provinces are dealing with floods that have left 45 people missing and damaged 20,000 homes. He added that six Iraqi civilians were among the dead.

A video purportedly shot near the holy city of Mashhad – where Iraqi pilgrims frequent – circulated on social media on Saturday, showing a van being swept by the muddy currents.

Other videos posted online showed harrowing scenes of houses and streets flooded with mud and cars destroyed by the strong current.

The floods and landslides were most deadly in Tehran province, where 19 people were killed and five are still missing in Imamzadeh Davoud alone in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains.

Mazandaran province to the north and central Yazd province have also been hard hit, with local authorities reporting significant damage to some of the historic parts of Yazd city, forcing government offices to close on Sunday.

The ancient city of Yazd is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) heritage site, with brick houses and narrow alleys that increase vulnerability to flooding.

According to Agriculture Minister Javad Sadatinejad, the monsoon rains have damaged the agricultural sector for more than 60 trillion rials (about $200 million) so far.

Tens of thousands of animals and livestock have also died in the floods, officials say.

In the capital Tehran, two water treatment plants were taken offline, but officials said the disruption did not affect water distribution in the metropolis and the facilities had been restored by the end of Saturday.

Authorities have warned of more rain in the southern and northern provinces and are warning citizens not to gather along riverbanks and other potentially dangerous places.

One benefit of the downpours is that dams and reservoirs across the country, especially in arid provinces such as Fars, Kerman and Sistan and Balochistan, have seen their stored water levels rise.

This while Iran has suffered from droughts in recent years that have been unprecedented in decades. It has also experienced flooding, a product of extreme weather events that scientists have warned are exacerbated by climate change.



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