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.
Iranian officials said Saturday that 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.
Shariati added that emergency discharges from dams were intensifying floods, but that the measures were essential to prevent the reservoirs from overflowing.
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state TV that over 400,000 people were at risk in the province.
Iran’s flooding has killed at least 70 people since March.
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 worst flooding in Iran in nearly 100 years, in terms of the extent.
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 Azarbaijan, 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, local 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.
Floods kill dozens, inundate vast swathes of Iran
Two weeks of rain
On Wednesday, the death toll of the floods in Iran increased to 62, with nearly 500 people injured. It has been longer than two weeks since storms unleashed flooding and landslides across 24 provinces or about two-thirds of the country. It is thought to be the worst flooding in nearly 100 years, in terms of the extent.
(This story originally appeared on dw.com)