A flash flood hits the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, March 25, 2019, causing cars to pile up on a road near its historic Quran Gate. (Supplied)

March 26, 2019

The death toll from major floods swamping much of Iran has risen to 21, emergency services said on Tuesday, as authorities sent safety warnings to mobile phones across the country.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a message of condolence urging officials to speed up relief efforts and compensation for victims of the floods, which the authorities described as unprecedented.

The disaster, which the energy minister blamed on climate change, struck in the middle of Iranian New Year holidays, with many relief workers on vacation.

Nineteen people were killed and 98 injured in the southern city of Shiraz, while one person died in the western province of Kermanshah and another in Lorestan, also in the west, rescue services said.

At least 110 people were reported wounded, according to the health ministry.

With 20 of Iran’s 31 provinces experiencing floods or facing an imminent threat, the country’s National Crisis Management Committee was activated at the cabinet level.

Iran’s meteorological service has warned of more heavy showers until Wednesday, and flood warnings have gone out for central provinces such as Isfahan and the capital Tehran.

Overnight the crisis management committee sent out multiple text messages to all mobile telephones in Iran urging people to be cautious and await instructions from official sources.

“Remain calm when facing possible dangers… do not honk your car horns in mountainous regions as it might cause avalanches,” one of the messages read.

“Do not set up tents near rivers or mountainous areas… and most importantly do not cross bridges when floods are running underneath,” read another one.

The floods followed extreme rainfall which at times was equivalent to half of the average annual levels within 24 hours.


About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.