February 7, 2023

At least 80 people have died and 30 others are missing in floods that have ravaged Iran for more than a week, state media reported Saturday.

Since the beginning of the Iranian month of Mordad on July 23, “59 people have died and 30 more are missing in the incidents caused by recent flooding,” Yaghoub Soleimani, secretary general of the Red Crescent, told state news. desk IRNA.

That comes on top of flash flooding caused by heavy rains in the normally dry southern province of Fars, which killed at least 22 people just before Mordad started.

Many of those victims spent the day by a river.

Soleimani noted that 60 cities, 140 towns and more than 500 villages across the country with about 83 million people have been affected by the floods.

Tehran province has been hardest hit with 35 dead. Nearby Mazandaran province has the highest number of missing persons with 20, according to a list published by the Red Crescent.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his condolences to the families in a letter published on his website on Saturday and called on authorities to take the necessary steps to repair the damage.

President Ebrahim Raisi visited the flood-ravaged areas in the Firouzkouh region east of the capital, his office said.

According to state media, serious damage was caused there, mainly by a landslide in the mountains that killed 14 people at the end of Thursday.

Videos and photos posted by Iranian media and social media showed houses and cars surrounded by gray mud, and people trying to recover their belongings.

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Early estimates point to more than 60 trillion rials (about $200 million) in damage to the agricultural sector, Agriculture Minister Javad Sadatinejad said, according to state broadcaster IRIB.

Iran’s meteorological center warned on Saturday of more rain in the southern and northern provinces in the coming days.

Scientists say climate change amplifies extreme weather, including droughts and the potential for the increased intensity of rainstorms.

Like other regional countries, Iran has experienced repeated droughts in the past decade, as well as regular flooding, a phenomenon that gets worse when torrential rains fall on the sun-kissed earth.

In 2019, heavy rains in southern Iran killed at least 76 people and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion.