Iran orders new evacuations amid heavy rain and fresh flood fears | News | DW | 06.04.2019
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Iran orders new evacuations amid heavy rain and fresh flood fears

Authorities ordered the evacuation of six more cities in Khuzestan province after more rain sparked fears of new flooding. Heavy rains since March have caused the worst flooding in 100 years across two-thirds of Iran.

On Saturday, Iranian officials said six cities along the Karkheh River in the southwestern province of Khuzestan "must be evacuated as soon as possible."

Fresh downpours have swelled the river's upstream, raising fears about new flooding in the area. Heavy rain in Khuzestan has been forecast for Saturday.

Gholamreza Shariati, the provincial governor, told state media that rescue teams were taking residents to safer places.

A map of Iran with the areas affected

Shariati said emergency discharges from dams were intensifying floods, but added that the measures were essential to prevent the reservoirs from overflowing.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state TV that more than 400,000 people were at risk in the province.

Flooding has killed at least 70 people in Iran since March.

Countrywide flooding

It has been more than two weeks since storms unleashed flooding and landslides across 24 Iranian provinces, or about two-thirds of the country. It is the most widespread flooding in Iran in nearly 100 years.

Watch video 01:35

Iran orders new evacuations as waters rise

The first wave of flooding struck two days before Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Severe rainfall in the northwestern province of Golestan on March 18 led to flash floods that killed at least 17 people. The small provincial city of Aqqala was submerged, and 20 villages in the province were surrounded by water.

After the flooding began in the north of Iran, rains continued across the west and south of the country. Floods inundated the northwestern province of West Azerbaijan, the southern province of Fars, and the oil-rich province of Khuzestan. Authorities issued travel warnings for Iranians across the country.

Floodwaters also raged in Lorestan province. According to Iran's Red Crescent, the provincial city of Pol-e-Dokhtar was in a state of "super crisis." On Monday, media reported the water level had reached 1.5 meters (5 feet) and the provincial governor said that authorities had "lost all contact" with the city.

shs/jlw (AFP, AP)

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