Unusually heavy rain across parts of the Middle East has caused flooding in Syria, Iran and Jordan, where at least 21 people have died.
Heavy rain began on 25 October, causing flash floods in the Zarqa Ma’in area, along the Dead Sea in western Jordan. Parts of the country also saw strong winds and hailstones. Some flooding was also reported in Jordanian capital, Amman, causing traffic problems.
Jordan Civil Defence authorities said that at least 21 people died as a result of flooding in Zarqa Ma’in. The victims were in a bus that was swept away by flood water, according to local media. Flooding also destroyed a bridge on the Dead Sea Cliffs. Around 35 people were rescued and several are thought to be still missing. As of 26 October, search and rescue operations were continuing.
Zarqa Ma’in is about 50km south west of Amman. In a 24 hour period to 26 October, Amman Airport recorded 9 mm of rain. According to WMO figures, mean total rainfall for October in Amman is 6.6 mm. Irbid recorded 16.0 mm and Ma’An 10.8 mm during the same period.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent said that volunteers carried out an emergency response for flood victims in the Al-Meridian neighbourhood of Hassakeh after the Al-Khabour (Khabur) river broke its banks.
The river overflowed after heavy rainfall from 26 October. Qamishli (Kamishli), situated about 75 km north of Hassakeh, recorded 31.4 mm of rain in a 24 hour period to 26 October. According to WMO, the mean total rainfall for October in Qamishli is 18 mm.
The Red Crescent said that the flooding caused material damages and loss in livestock. Food has been distributed to affected families. The Al-Meridian neighbourhood is close to the river and is known to be vulnerable to flooding.
Heavy rain from 26 October also caused flooding in parts of Iran, where the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) says 1,172 people were affected. At least 68 homes were damaged and 177 people displaced.
IRCS said from October 26, the provinces of Lorestan, Mazandaran, Gilan, Golestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Kermanshah, Kerman, Sistan and Baluchestan, Khuzestan, North Khorasan, Khorasan-e Razavi, Ilam, Ardebil, East Azarbaijan, and West Azarbaijan were affected by heavy rainfall.
“Relief operations are still continuing in the provinces of Ilam, Mazandaran, and Lorestan,” said Morteza Salimi, head of Relief and Rescue Organization of the Iranian Red Crescent.
Emergency supplies have been distributed and IRCS volunteers helped pump water from homes and recover cars from flood water.