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Floods Engulf Iran, Dams Remain Emptied

As floods sweep the entire country, Iran is suffering from chronic water shortages and drought.
As floods sweep the entire country, Iran is suffering from chronic water shortages and drought.

Flash floods have engulfed dozens of provinces across Iran for more than a week, which have reportedly claimed more than 100 lives and caused widespread damage. At the same time, Iranians have been suffering greatly from water shortages.

Indeed, the Iranian authorities’ poor response to this ‘natural disaster’ has turned it into a ‘national disaster’ with more losses. State media has also pointed to the regime’s indifference to the constant drama of flash floods in recent publications.

On July 26, Ebtekar daily wrote, “Every flood claims several souls and attracts attention for a while. Afterward, everything would be forgotten until the next flood.” The daily pointed to the floods in Estahban county, Fars province, which occurred in other areas just two days later.

Locals from different stricken areas have reported that the regime has yet to provide the necessary equipment to rescue trapped people. One citizen said, “No one came here; MPs, the mayor, the governor, and the minister just came here, taking some selfies. Only locals and workers are working here.”

On August 1, Agriculture Jihad Minister Javad Sadatinejad revealed parts of the flood damages, stating,  “Primary estimations show various fields of agriculture, including livestock, poultry, nomads, canals, honeybees, orchards, and irrigation networks had over $2 billion damage during the first phase of floods.”

Iranians Suffer from Drought and Flood

Despite floods in more than 27 provinces, a significant decrease in water resources remains a chronic dilemma across Iran. Many people are suffering from water shortages and floods in tandem, with the water shortages already having been an issue for much of the year. Footage from Shahr-e Rey district in the capital has shown people in long queues for potable water.

On March 30, Tasnim news agency quoted Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian as saying, “Currently, 300 cities across the country, including several metropolitan areas and provinces’ capitals, face water tensions.”

State media outlets also mentioned the citizens’ continued suffering from mismanagement and the regime’s failures. On August 1, the Hamshahri Online website wrote, “According to the Natural Resources Organization’s statistics, the country witnessed one flood with 250-billion-rial damage every three days during the past decade. Iran faced 700-trillion-rial damage in the past ten years.”

At the same time, the Tabnak website reported that “Tehran’s dams remain 25.6 percent below the standard capacity.” The country also lacks the appropriate infrastructure to use millions of cubic meters of water.

In an interview with Tabnak on July 31, Mohammad Shahryari, the director of the Operation and Maintenance Office of Water and Hydroelectric facilities, said, “We had the most floods in the catchment area of Mamlo dam, which led to an increase in water turbidity. Therefore, the refinery was temporarily taken out from service.”

This issue is not just limited to the capital. Hamid Fazayeli, the deputy director of the Operation and Maintenance Office in Ardabil, spoke to the semiofficial ISNA news agency about water shortages on August 1, stating, “Currently, 70 percent of the 402-million-cubic-meter capacity of the province’s dams are empty.”

All the facts mentioned above show that the primary dilemma has originated from a corrupt ruling system that has either destroyed or plundered natural resources, leaving millions of Iranians vulnerable to natural incidents.