A heavy flood in the South of Iran that erupted this Saturday has so far claimed at least 22 lives and left 2 others missing.
In the afternoon of this Saturday and about 174 kilometers (108 miles) east of the provincial capital Shiraz, heavy rainfall created a strong flood that in less than a few hours, killed at least 22 people and left two others missing.
Pictures and videos that were posted on local and social media showed how cars were carried away so easily by the rising waters of the Roodball river in the southern province of Fars. Flooding hit more than 10 villages in the province, creating lots of damage to peoples’ houses and properties. “The number of people killed has risen to 22 after another body was found due to floods that affected several towns in and around Estahban county”, Javad Moradian, head of the local rescue unit said in an interview with Iran’s state media.
On a larger scale, Iran’s Red Crescent Society conducted rescue operations immediately after the flood, also adding that 150 emergency responders and an aerial unit are working at the scene to help the survivors.
The governor of Estahban, Yousef Kargar, also was present in the area and shed some light on the events; “Around 5:00 pm yesterday, heavy rains… in the central parts of Estahban County led to flooding,” he said, further noting that “a number of local people and sightseers (from other areas) who had gone to the riverside and were present in the river bed were caught in the flood due to the rise in the water level,”.
Then it came to higher ranking officials such as Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber to address the problem. Mokhber called on the governor of Fars province in a telephone talk to open an investigation into the incident and “to compensate the families of the victims.” Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi also toured the region on a helicopter trip to personally monitor and supervise rescue efforts.
Why a flood in the middle of summer?
Iran has experienced many repeated droughts over the past decade, but the country has also witnessed regular floods even in the hottest months of summer. This phenomenon has only been exacerbated by the bigger challenge called global warming and could even get worse in the near future.
In fact, scientists believe that climate change is the chief cause of extreme weather conditions that are being experienced not only in Iran but in the world as a whole. These weather anomalies mostly include droughts as well as the potential for the increased intensity of heavy and flood-producing rainfalls even in summer. Specifically speaking of Iran’s Fars province, the country’s state media reported this Sunday that meteorologists in Fars had warned several times before that just like the past events, there could be further strong rainfalls and floods ahead.
In March 2018, for example, a flash flood in the province caused the death of 44 people and millions of dollars of losses in personal and state assets and infrastructure. Heavy rains also hit the country’s south a year later in 2019, which left at least 76 people dead and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion. As mentioned above, such extreme weather conditions are universal.
In the neighboring country of Iraq in December, for instance, a heavy flood that swept through the north of the country killed 12 people. Surprisingly enough, the flood happened following a severe years-long drought. Heavy rains also swept across western Germany back in July last year, which left more than 200 people dead and thousands of houses drowned.