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Floods kill at least 18 in southern Iran, after deluge in north

Torrential floods in Iran’s Shiraz [Anadolu Agency]
Torrential floods in Iran’s Shiraz [Anadolu Agency]

At least 18 people were killed and around 100 others were wounded in flash floods in Iran’s southern province of Fars, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Monday, following devastating floods in the north.

State TV said several provinces were also on high alert for more imminent flooding because of heavy rain. The meteorology department warned people about rain forecast for the coming days, state radio reported, urging them to avoid any trips.

As the victims of the northern Iran flood struggled with the water and mud, President Hassan Rouhani’s hardline rivals have criticised his government for doing too little, too late.

Iran’s hardline judiciary said on Sunday the government’s handling of the disaster was being investigated, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported.

“Any shortcomings regarding the handling of the floods, failure to provide relief and aid to the survivors will be investigated,” it quoted judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as saying.

READ: Dozens of homes swept away by floods in Iraq’s Najaf

Hardline cleric Raisi lost the 2017 presidential election when Rouhani was re-elected.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday that Rouhani has returned to Tehran from Iran’s Qeshm Island in the Gulf, where he had been spending the Iranian new year holiday.

He was criticised by Iranians on social media for being in the south when flooding was hitting the north of the country.

In a rare move, Iran’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on the armed forces to help the flood-hit northern provinces.

TV aired footage of cars caught in flood waters in Shiraz. Iran’s Students News Agency ISNA said high water had damaged thousands of houses in Shiraz and other towns.

“We all are going to die. Pray for us. We are all going to die. Mother, we all are going to die,” said a woman in a bus caught in the floods in Shiraz, according to a video posted on Twitter.

Authorities also have warned about possibility of floods in the capital, Tehran, as well as in the oil-rich southern province of Khuzestan in the next 48 hours.

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