Iran – Over 20,000 Affected by Floods in South West Says UN

The UN in Iran says that an estimated 24,000 people have been affected by flooding in the south-west of the country since late February.

Floods in Mamulan, Iran, February 2020. Image: Copernicus EMS

In a report of 10 March 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Iran said heavy rains since 24 February have caused widespread floods across south-west Iran, including Lorestan and Khuzestan provinces.

Most of the affected people are in Nurabad, Memulan and Poldakhtar cities. Damage to several roads and bridges have cut access to at least 58 villages. More than 150 villages have been affected by gas outage and all roads have been blocked due to severe flooding in Lorestan and the surrounding areas.

The rainfall has relatively reduced since then, however new waves of rain are expected towards the end of March and will expectedly continue throughout April.

Based on initial assessments, about 617 km of roads and 332 bridges have been damaged in Lorestan. About 900 hectares of farmland in Silakhor in Lorestan have also been affected.

People in the flooded areas in Lorestan moved to safer places with support of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), which has secured emergency shelter for more than 320 displaced people in the province.

Over the past two weeks, humanitarian assistance has been provided by Iranian authorities and the IRCS to the most affected people. IRCS relief teams have been deployed to multiple districts in Lorestan Province and have so far established eight emergency resettlement centers in Durrod and other locations in rural areas at risk of floods.

COVID-19, Locusts and Flooding

Iran is facing three simultaneous emergencies; a spike in cases of people affected by the coronavirus COVID-19, locust invasion, as well as flooding.

OCHA said that more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 have been detected and 291 people have died. Meanwhile locust swarms are threatening crops and livelihoods in the provinces of Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchestan, Bushehr, Fars and Khuzestan.

In flooded areas there is a concern about the risk of communicable waterborne diseases, disruption to schooling and livelihoods especially with the ongoing Coronavirus and desert locust outbreaks.

The UN said that such overlapping national crises is adding to the complexity of economic hardship faced by the poorest households in Iran.