An aerial view of flooding in Golestan province, Iran March 27, 2019.
(photo credit: IRANIAN PRESIDENCY WEBSITE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Twenty-five of Iran’s 31 provinces are now inundated by massive flooding that has plunged cities into crisis and caused the military to respond. It took a week for Tehran to come to grips with the devastation and declare a national emergency.
Khuzestan province now faces a new deluge of rain, local reports indicate, with 55 villages having been evacuated. This is after provinces in the North were critiqued for not planning ahead.
Forecasters predicted more of the heavy rains that have killed at least 45 people this week, the state news agency IRNA quoted Health Minister Saeid Namaki as saying; flooding is continuing in the north and western areas of the country. It is estimated that it may take another week for the floods to subside. Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), visited flood ravaged areas. The IRGC has now been deployed to help people during the floods, a shift from the usual role of the corps. In the past, the IRGC has been spotlighted for its role in fighting in Syria; now it is focusing on the homeland.
The extent of the crises in Iran took days to reach Iranian media, likely because of government attempts to censor news of the disaster. Questions now remain over how the government has handled this national emergency and whether it has focused too much on foreign policy at the expense of domestic issues.
The massive flooding may affect Syria and Iraq. For instance, Iraq buys electricity from Iran and the flooding may cause economic disruption that can harm Iraq and Syria.
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