Sixteen Iranian provinces were flooded in the past 72 hours due to seasonal rains and snow, a Red Crescent official in Iran said today. Morteza Salimi, the Head of the Red Crescent’s Rescue and Relief Society, said that the floods occurred in the central provinces of Isfahan and Yazd, Tehran and the neighboring provinces of Alborz and Qom, South and North Khorasan provinces in northeastern Iran, the northern provinces of Semnan, Golestan and Gilan, the southwestern province of Fars, Kermanshah, and Lorestan in western Iran, Qazvin in the northwest and Kerman province in southeastern Iran.
An official from Iran’s Meteorological Organization told the state-run Fars News Agency that seasonal rains would continue until April 14 and that a new system of rain would enter the country on April 15.
Sadegh Ziaian warned of rising river water levels, flooding of public roads and slippery roads and said that in addition to dangerous road conditions, agricultural products should also be protected.
The last round of floods in 13 provinces last month led to the death of seven people. The regime announced that 15 others were injured. Locals reports indicated that 11 people passed away in the floods.
Man-made causes of Iran’s floods
The reason behind Iran’s increasing floods is the deforestation of more 30% of the northern forests, the destruction of vegetation in pastures and fields, the lack of levees, and floodwalls in flood areas, the lack of river dredging, the unnatural gathering of heavy sediments behind dams, broken dams, the unconventional building of villas in agricultural land which is mostly carried out by those affiliated with the government, and the construction on river banks and river areas.
Deforestation is carried out in full by the government with “33% of forests in Iran having been destroyed”, according to state-run media. That means that the 18 million hectares of Iran’s forests have shrunk to just 12.4 million.
Salamat News state-run website also reported a few years ago that the main cause of floods was due to environmental damages.
“Floods are not only the result of natural disasters. It is rather the result of environmental destruction. They are the result of the changes made to natural lands, deforestation and the destruction of native vegetation. Reducing vegetation and changes in the land will cause runoff from precipitation to increase by more than 30 times in some places,” the website wrote.
It’s obvious that these environmental damages are systematic and the result of government mismanagement.
Floods like other natural disasters are predictable and preventable and when it takes place, is controllable with the right infrastructure, necessary budget and technical management. But at the current rate, Iran will witness more destructive floods in the future.
In October 2018, Iranian state-run media reported that half of Iran’s northern forests were razed in the span of 40 years.
According to a member of the Iran Environment and Natural Resources Network Coordination Council, deforestation has destroyed half of Iran’s northern forests.
“According to the data of The Natural Resources and Forestry Organization, during the past 40 years, the area of the northern forests has gone from 3,600,000 to 1,800,000 hectares,” Massoud Molana said.
“When half of the forests are gone, the rain is no longer a blessing and turn into floods,” he added.
The environment official said that rain had decreased by 20 percent in the past 50 years while floods had increased by 50 percent.
“Rain is considered a disaster in northern Iran these days because trees have been cut down under the excuse of development, building schools, industry, roads, and villas, and therefore, deforestation means floodwater is directed better,” Molana added in comments carried by ISNA state-run News Agency.
Tabnak state-run website also covered the staggering report on the speed of deforestation of Iran’s northern forests.
“These are very large numbers and when in regard to a semi-arid country, it will lead to a huge catastrophe; We are apparently not able to understand the full-scale catastrophe that our country faces, for if we did, we would not continue the spread (of deforestation) at full speed,” the website wrote.
“We are talking about the process of deforestation, which is so extensive that it can be seen,” wrote another Iranian website.
“The increase of construction on a day to day basis can be seen clearly by those who take various trips to the north of our country; the tragedy that had struck the coastal strip is now taking place at double the speed in the forest areas,” Vosaat website added.