Death toll from week-long Iran flooding tops 80, more missing

Death toll from week-long Iran flooding tops 80, more missing
The death toll in Iran continues to climb as hundreds of regions around the country continue to witness flooding
3 min read
This week's floods are the deadliest among Iran's rain-related incidents in the last decade [Getty]

At least 80 people have been killed and 30 others are missing in floods that have wreaked havoc across Iran for more than a week, state media reported Saturday.

At least 60 cities, 140 districts and 516 villages were being flooded, secretary-General of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), Yaqub Soleimani, told the official IRNA news agency, adding that the organisation had provided relief to more than 100,000 people.

Tehran province is the hardest-hit with 35 deaths. Nearby Mazandaran province has the highest number of missing people at 20, a list published by the Red Crescent showed.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a letter published on his website Saturday, expressed condolences to the families and called on authorities to take necessary measures to repair the damage.

President Ebrahim Raisi visited flood-ravaged areas in Firouzkouh region east of the capital, his office said.

Severe damage occurred there primarily because of a mountain landslide late Thursday which claimed 14 lives, according to state media.

Videos and pictures posted by Iranian media and on social media showed houses and cars surrounded by grey mud, and people trying to recover their belongings.

Initial estimates point to more than 60 trillion rials (about $200 million) in damages to the agricultural sector, Agriculture Minister Javad Sadatinejad said, according to state broadcaster IRIB.

Iran's meteorological centre on Saturday warned of more rains in the southern and northern provinces in the coming days.

Scientists say climate change amplifies extreme weather, including droughts as well as the potential for the increased intensity of rain storms.

This week's storm is the deadliest among Iran's rain-related incidents in the last decade.

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Like other regional countries, Iran has endured repeated droughts over the past decade, but also regular floods, a phenomenon made worse when torrential rain falls on sun-baked earth.

In 2019, heavy rains in Iran's south left at least 76 people dead and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion.

Authorities have blamed the high death toll on a wide disregard of safety measures by people who venture out in the storms while critics cite mismanagement in construction projects as well as late warnings as other causes.