0459 GMT February 22, 2020
Relief and rescue operations are underway in Iran’s flood-stricken areas but closure of the roads has slowed the operations in the southern areas.
Iran’s Red Crescent Society, military forces as well as governmental organizations have rushed to help the people after heavy rainfalls, which started on Thursday, caused devastating floods in Sistan-Baluchestan Province and the nearby provinces of Kerman and Hormuzgan.
The floods have inflicted massive damages on villages, roads, infrastructures and agricultural areas, especially in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
Most parts of the cities of Chabahar, Nikshahr, Dalghan, Konarak, and Sarbaz in the southeastern province are affected by floods and their communication is cut off.
Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, who has traveled to the flood-hit areas, said on Tuesday that the closure of the roads has slowed relief efforts.
However, the Red Crescent Society has so far provided around 35,000 people with medical and humanitarian aid.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ordered Iranian state-run bodies and nongovernmental organizations to provide more aid to people affected by severe flooding.
“Torrential rain in Sistan-Baluchestan Province and some other places in southeast of the country, that has led to flooding, has caused problems for the people, and in some cases destruction and damage, requires that, in addition to the praiseworthy services that have been rendered so far, state-run bodies and nongovernmental organizations should do more to help the dear people of that region and prevent further losses,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated in a message on Monday.
Unprecedented floods in Sistan-Baluchestan and adjacent Kerman and South Khorasan provinces have displaced thousands and killed at least one person since last Thursday.
More than 500 villages and 14 towns have been affected by the floods and 20,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
Rescue teams used boats and helicopters to provide relief after floodwaters cut off road access to urban areas of Hormuzgan, Kerman and Sistan-Baluchestan provinces, IRNA said.
They have so far been unable to reach the town of Qasr-e Qand and 40 surrounding villages in Sistan-Baluchestan, said Governor Rahimbaksh Pakandish, cited by IRNA.
“More than 20,000 people in the villages of Sistan-Baluchestan Province have lost their homes because of flooding or are surrounded by water,” Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi was quoted as saying.
In Kerman Province, roads were severed and 40 villages suffered damage, while in Hormuzgan Province 61 people were rescued.
The amount of rain that has fallen in the southwestern province of Hormuzgan since Friday has been “unprecedented,” ISNA reported.
Floodwaters had surrounded more than 50 villages in the province on the Persian Gulf.
“Unprecedented floods are ravaging #Iran’s Sistan & Baluchistan province, with significant human & material costs,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday night.
The flood disaster is the worst in Iran since at least 80 people were killed across 20 provinces last April.