2019 Iran floods

2019 Iran Floods
مناطق سیل زده استان گلستان.jpg
A flooded community in Golestan Province on 21 March
Date19 March 2019 – 29 April 2019
LocationFars Province
Golestan Province
Mazandaran Province
Khuzestan Province
Lorestan Province
Ilam Province and 20 other provinces.
Deaths77+ deaths, 791 injured,[1][2][3]
Property damageAt least $2.2 billion (2019 USD)[4]
  • About 1,900 cities and villages damaged
  • 78 roads had been blocked and 84 bridges in flood-stricken areas affected

From mid-March to April 2019 widespread flash flooding affected large parts of Iran, most severely in Golestan, Fars, Khuzestan, Lorestan, and other provinces. Iran has been hit by three major waves of rain and flooding over the course of two weeks[5] which led to flooding in at least 26 of Iran's 31 provinces[6] and at least 70 people died nationwide as of 6 April, according to the officials.[6] The first wave of rain began on 17 March, leading to flooding in two northern provinces, Golestan and Mazandaran with the former province receiving as much as 70 percent of its average annual rainfall in single day.[6] Several large dams have been overflowed, particularly in Khuzestan and Golestan, therefore many villages and several cities have been evacuated.[5] About 1,900 cities and villages across country have been damaged by severe floods as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to water and agriculture infrastructure. 78 roads were blocked and the reliability of 84 bridges was questioned.[7][8]

Severity of the floods was greatly increased by converting flood routes and dry river beds for urban development without providing proper drainage infrastructure.[9] According to an Iranian official, due to record rainfalls, more than 140 rivers have burst their banks and about 409 landslides have happened in the country. The impact of the floods was heightened because of the Nowruz holiday; many Iranians were travelling and many deaths occurred due to flash flooding on roads and highways.[7] Around 12,000 km of roads were damaged by the flooding, about 36% of Iran's national road network.[3] The floods caused at least $2.2 billion (2019 USD) in damages, mostly due to losses in the agricultural industry.[4] Further, according to Red Crescent, two million people are in need of humanitarian aid due to the devastating floods.[10]

Civil and armed forces have been mobilized since 24 March after the command of Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme leader, and vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, along with several ministers as well as army commanders have traveled to the areas affected by floods.[11] However, the lack of government aid and delayed response at the first days quickly heightened political tensions throughout the nation. Many Iranians including politicians took to social media platforms to criticize the handling of the floods by the government, specifically President Hassan Rouhani.[12]

Golestan and Mazandaran

Flooding in Aqqala, Golestan

On 20 March 2019, massive rainfall in the two provinces of Golestan and Mazandaran in Iran brought about heavy flooding.[13] These floods resulted in financial damages to the people living in these areas and also the deaths of two children.[14] State-run media reports indicated that flash floods had surfaced in 70 villages in Golestan and more than 200 villages in Mazandaran. Iran's Minister of Energy also reported that 360 villages in Golestan province and 193 villages in Mazandaran province had lost electricity due to floods.[15] Coincident with Iran's national holiday, Nowruz,.[16]

The first wave of rain began on 17 March, leading to flooding in two northern provinces, Golestan and Mazandaran with the former province receiving as much as 70 percent of its average annual rainfall in a single day.[6] Several large dams have overflowed, particularly in Khuzestan and Golestan, therefore, many villages and several cities were evacuated.[5] In many areas, homes and lands have been partially or totally submerged for several days.[6] Portions of Golestan province received 50-70 percent of their average annual rainfall over a five-day period. Some areas recorded approximately 300 mm (12 in) of rainfall, equivalent to a year's-worth of rain. These amounts exceed any accumulations in the region in at least 70 years. The flooding in Golestan and Mazandaran provinces is considered a 1-in-100 year event.[17]

On 6 April 2019, about two weeks after the flood, the town of Aqqala in the northern province of Golestan, is still covered with lethal flood. Local authorities say "they have to wait for the water to vaporize".[citation needed]

The governor of Golestan province was also reportedly on vacation outside the country during the floods.[12] Later, he was dismissed by the vice President.[18]