Iran evacuates dozens of villages as flooding continues

Iran evacuates dozens of villages as flooding continues
Flooding in Iran has cost at least 47 lives, and huge carnage to homes and infrastructure.
2 min read
02 April, 2019
Iran has seen biblical flooding in the past two weeks [Getty]

Iran on Tuesday ordered 70 villages to be evacuated, as flooding continues to wreak havoc across the country, according to state media.

Flooding has affected the oil-rich Khuzestan region, IRNA news agency reported, with officials ordering Iranians to leave areas between the Dez and Karkheh rivers with more storms forecasted for western Iran in the coming days.

Authorities are concerned that the heavy rainfall could lead to dam failures and rivers overflowing, Reuters reported.

The west of the country has been hit by some of the worst flooding in years, with further storms expecting to hit southwestern Iran hardest in the coming days.

At least 47 people have been killed over the past two weeks, while tens of thousands have been made homeless.

Emergency response teams have been desperately working to rescue those caught in flash floods.

Politicians from all sides have accused authorities and officials of mismanagement. Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi has said officials whose actions - or lack of them - have led to deaths should be prosecuted.

Moderate President Hassan Rouhani has criticised local authorities for handling the situation poorly, which has seen flooding in 26 out of Iran's 31 province.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the US of impeding aid efforts and "economic terrorism" due to Washington's sanctions on Iran.

US sanctions are "impeding aid efforts by #IranianRedcrescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods", Zarif tweeted.

"Blocked equipment includes relief choppers," the tweet read, adding that "this isn't just economic warfare; it's economic TERRORISM".

US President Donald Trump ended a historic nuclear deal with Iran last year, enacting tough sanctions on the country which has seen the economy tank.