Iran: Govt. orders evacuation of 70 villages due to flood risk

The Iranian government has officially announced the evacuation of over 70 villages in the Khuzestan province due to high risk of floods from the Dez and Kharkheh rivers. The move has come after the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, blamed the US sanctions which had been imposed by the Trump administration last year for disrupting the rescue efforts in the flood-hit areas of the country, where nearly 45 people have lost their lives.

Zarif tweeted, “America’s maximum pressure policy on Iran is impeding aid efforts by #Iranian Red Crescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods”. The sanctions have prevented the Iranian government to get the badly needed equipment like helicopters which are used in relief efforts. Zarif said that this is not economic warfare but actually economic terrorism.

US administration has, however, hinted that the country is considering to implement further sanctions against the Iranian Republic which will target those areas of Iranian economy which have not been included under the sanctions before. It has been two weeks since Iran is braving severe flooding. Many hundreds of villages, towns and cities in Western Iran have been inundated in worse floods of the season. In some parts, the government has declared a state of emergency. Local authorities of the struck regions are constantly asking the government for more helicopters for reaching the remote and cut-off locations. The state media of Iran, however, states that many helicopters of both the Iranian military and Iranian Red Crescent are already participating in the relief operations. Britain and Germany have also offered to give help in terms of boats and safety equipment.

As per the media reports of Iran, floods have cut nearly 80 per cent of intercity roads in addition to the roads which connect 2200 villages in addition to cutting off electricity and communication in many places which include western Ilam and Lorestan provinces. In Khorramabad, the water level has risen by 3 metres while some others are completely submerged with the residents forced to stay on rooftops. Even the airports in the western part of the city have been flooded with images suggesting that the water has submerged the main runway and thereby cut-off the main air link of the country. Even other communication channels have been snapped. Banks of many rivers have been broken due to heavy rainfall.

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