Tehran (Web Desk): At least 19 persons dead and more than 90 injured in major floods across much of Iran, blocking roads and triggering landslides with warnings of more heavy rain to come, emergency services said.
Such a widespread flood threat is unprecedented in arid Iran, which until 2018 was dealing with decades of drought.
Seventeen persons were killed and 94 injured in the southern city of Shiraz, one died in the western province of Kermanshah and another in Lorestan, also in the west, rescue services said.
The national emergency has struck in the middle of Iranian New Year holidays, with many relief workers also on vacation.
Many of those killed in Shiraz were holidaymakers caught in the flood as they entered the city in their cars.
With 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces experiencing floods or facing an imminent threat, the country’s National Crisis Management Committee was activated at the cabinet level.
“I have ordered all governors-general, all provincial managers and officials nationwide to stay at their posts throughout the next 72 hours which is the peak of the flood threat,” First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri said on state television after the committee’s first meeting.
President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement expressing condolences to victims’ families and thanking emergency services and the military for their responses to the crisis. He demanded an “immediate investigation” into the causes of the high death toll in Shiraz.