At the peak of the recent flood disaster in Iran, half a million people have been displaced and 90% of land submerged, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) reports. One of the worst affected provinces was Golestan, which received approximately 70% of its annual rainfall in 24 hours, something that had not been seen in over 300 years.
Heavy rain and floods started affecting Iran on March 19, 2019, causing massive damage to the country's agricultural sector, damaging 36% of the entire road network, destroying 84 bridges, nearly 2 200 rural roads and leaving at least 78 people dead. According to information provided by official sources, flooding has caused at least 47 trillion rials (about $350 million USD) in damage to the country's agricultural sector, as of April 4.
Starting in the northern province of Golestan and moving to the South and the West of the country, heavy rains have poured over 28 of the 31 provinces of Iran. Almost the whole country was under water, IDMC said.
Spring 2019 flash floods are the worst disaster impacting the country in over fifteen years, according to the Iranian Red Crescent.
One of the worst affected provinces was Golestan, which received approximately 70% of its annual rainfall in 24 hours, something that had not been seen in over 300 years.
IRAN DEVASTATING FLOODS— Press TV (@PressTV) April 4, 2019
US sanctions are hurting flood rescue operations in #Iran. However, all Iranian government agencies, armed forces, and voluntary groups continue efforts to help the victims. #IranFloods pic.twitter.com/ibqNLfp7Oo
Lorestan and the oil-rich province of Khuzestan were among the worst-affected.
The impact spread to more than 2 000 towns and villages affecting over 10 million people in both rural and urban centers, relief efforts began.
Describing systematic failure, IDMC said one of the most criticized aspects of the handling of disaster so far has been the planned redirection of floodwaters towards populated areas, as well as the release of emergency discharge waters toward farms and crops to avoid a major overflow of reservoirs and dams.
While it is undeniable that some extent of the damage and losses could have been prevented, it is also true that the unusual and unexpected situation caught population and water management authorities by surprise, IDMC said.
A new wave of deadly storms started affecting the country two weeks ago, killing at least 24 people. 4 people were killed by flooding and another 20 after they were struck by lightning, a spokesman for Iran's emergency services said May 23.
Featured image credit: Iran Panorama