Flash flood kills 21 people in southern Iran

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Flash floods in Iran’s drought-stricken southern Fars province have killed at least 21 people, state televi-sion said Saturday.

Heavy rains swelled the Roudbal river by the city of Estahban, according to the city’s governor Yousef Karegar.

Karegar said rescue teams had saved 55 people who were trapped by the flash flooding, but at least six people were still missing. Flooding hit more than 10 villages in the province, he added.

Iran’s interior minister, Ahmad Vahidi, shared his condolences with the families of the flood vic-tims, state television later reported.

Iran’s meteorology department had warned about possibly heavy seasonal rainfall across the country that is facing a decades-long drought blamed on climate change. The dangers of flash flooding have also been exacerbated by the widespread construction of buildings and roads near riverbeds.

“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,” he added.

Video posted on local media and social media show cars caught in the rising waters of the Roodball river and carried away.

Pakistan extended its condolences to Iran for the loss of lives and material damage from the floods, according to a press release issued by the Foreign Office. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, and we wish speedy recovery to those injured as a result of this natural disaster. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Iran at this moment of grief,” the press release said.

Iran has endured repeated droughts over the past decade, but also regular floods. In 2019, heavy flooding in the country’s south left at least 76 people dead and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion.

In January at least two people were killed in flash flooding in Fars when heavy rains hit the area, a local official said at the time.

Scientists say climate change amplifies extreme weather, including droughts as well as the potential for the increased intensity of rain storms.—AP

 

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