Drought, water scarcity, and floods have caused much damage to Iran and its people. Environmentally, this is due to Iran’s arid and semi-arid climatic conditions prevailing on its plateau.
In Iran, there are approximately three floods each month and this is not a rare condition in this country. Around 41 percent of all damages caused by natural incidents are related to these floods, and according to estimates, the number of floods that happened in Iran in the 2000s was around 1580, while the 2010s saw 1665 floods occur.
Therefore, Iran is considered as a region in a high grade of danger from floods. While many natural water channels have been destroyed and the regime’s government is refusing to invest money to repair or replace them with artificial channels, along with the lack of correct planning and the institutionalized corruption, we have witnessed many times that floods have caused unusual and preventable damage to the Iranian people.
Last week, people in Fars, Kerman, and Sistan and Balutchestan provinces were, yet again, surprised by heavy rainfalls and the following floods that were predicted by the weather forecast. Many people across those provinces lost all or part of their properties, while 10 people died in the counties of Darab, Lamerd, Bayram, Sirjan, Mehrestan, and Chabahar.
While many parts of the country are suffering from drought, with the proper management the government could use this amount of floodwater to rectify the people’s water scarcity and solve the problems of the hopeless farmers like those in Isfahan, instead of responding to their water rights with birdshot.
The occurrence of floods originates from both human and natural sources. The increasing urban population, as well as the extensive construction around the rivers, canals, or riverbeds, has left rivers with little overflow space to drain the floods, resulting in water flows down urban alleys and passages, as well as flooding homes and shops.
Iran’s dams were originally built under the pretext of supplying drinking water, agriculture, electricity, or oil projects (for example in Hur al-Azim, Khuzestan) without regard to ecological consequences, but they have been responsible for several floods and have become a source of dust storms.
With the increasing population and the formation of impermeable urban surfaces, such as parking lots and buildings, the speed of water runoff in these areas increases and, in some cases, leads to increased discharge, causing floods in its path.
The lack of sewerage systems, both urban and rural, along with the lack of the full implementation of watershed and aquifer management plans only add to the flood crisis.
Over the years, the area of forests in northern Iran has decreased from 3.4 to 1.8 million square kilometers. The improper harvesting of timber, construction in the forest area, and overgrazing of pastures have led to numerous floods in these areas.
Dam overflow due to greed to preserve water resources, and the lack of construction of dams in the appropriate climate and geography to preserve water resources, is another important factor in creating a flood crisis that lies at the fault of human intervention.
The lack of coordination between regime officials and the contradictory policies of the Ministry of Energy, Forests and Rangelands Organization and Municipalities are responsible for the failed management of the flood crisis. This unsustainable management system is not able to intelligently manage water flow.
In addition to managerial weakness and corruption, the lack of adequate funding for the very important area of floods and disasters is one of the main reasons for the government’s inability to control crises.
For example, with the 2022 budget bill, the government is allowed to provide up to 5,500 billion rials ($20 million) to the Red Crescent and up to 1,870 billion rials ($7 million) to the Ministry of Health for affected areas in the form of expense credits and asset acquisition.
Meanwhile, according to initial estimates, following the rain in the past weeks and the floods, according to the regime, around 5,460 billion rials ($19.5 million) of damage has been done to the agricultural sector of Chabahar city alone. The Deputy Governor of Fars Province for Coordination of Civil Affairs acknowledged that the rains have caused about 14,200 billion tomans ($51 million) in damage to various parts of the province.
Still, the effects of the floods of 2019 on 10 million people in 259 cities and 5148 villages have not yet healed. According to the Iranian Ministry of Health, 78 people were killed, 1,137 were injured and about 300,000 were displaced during the floods of 2019.
About one million hectares of cultivated land were flooded, leaving about 250,000 hectares of agricultural products and about 150,000 hectares of orchards destroyed. More than 6,000 poultry units and about 100 fish farms were also damaged.
Around 150,000 housing units in urban and rural areas were damaged, of which 50,000 units needed to be rebuilt. In addition, more than 14,000 kilometers of main, secondary, and rural roads were damaged in more than 6,800 points. 10,900 technical buildings (such as bridges and towers) were damaged, and 725 bridges were completely destroyed.
However, almost all the damages were repaired by the Iranian people themselves, and only 800 billion tomans ($29 million) out of 5 thousand billion tomans ($179 million) of damages were spent by the government, from expenditure credits and property acquisition, to repair the infrastructure.