Following heavy rains in eight Iranian provinces, there have been reports of severe damage in Khuzestan province southwestern Iran, to homes, public areas, and closure of routes in cities and villages.
The Minister of Energy’s Water and Wastewater Deputy, Ghasem Taghizadeh Khamesi said on December 1 that the recent flooding in Khuzestan’s provincial capital of Ahvaz is due to the lack of a surface water drainage system.
He added that the Ministry of Energy has no responsibility in this regard and that the municipality must take the necessary measures.
According to state-run ISNA News Agency on December 2, Ali Khodadadi, executive director of the Red Crescent in Khuzestan, said 5,750 people were affected by the floodwaters.
Eyewitnesses in Ahvaz, Mahshahr and Abadan said social distancing and other preventive measure for the coronavirus have been put aside since their homes were flooded by sewer water, making them uninhabitable.
A video on the “Asre Jonoub” Telegram channel shows considerable floodwaters in the streets, shops, and homes of residents of Mahshahr’s Shahrak-e Jarrahi district.
Social media posts of Ahvaz’s Hasir Abad market showed floodwaters damaging shops and causing problems for the owners.
Abdolzahra Sanavati, director of the Ahvaz City Council, described the situation as “critical” and said this is an old problem. He added that although a budget of 4,000 billion tomans (about 154 million dollars) from the National Development Fund has been authorized, nothing has been credited and it has not reached the operational phase. He also criticized the lack of budgeting for maintenance of the existing water and sewer system.
Adnan Ghazi, governor of Shoush in northern Khuzestan, said about 20 villages have been flooded.
The governor of Susan, a suburb of Izeh, had reported earlier that the roofs of at least 10 villagers’ homes in Izeh and Baghmalek had been damaged due to the constant and severe rainfall.
He said the problem is that flood barriers have not been constructed for these areas.
Following the heavy rains and flooding, administrative centers were closed on Sunday in Ahvaz, Mahshahr, Ramshir and Omidieh.
Furthermore, local officials in Bushehr province said a number of homes, some in Tangestan and Badar-e Deylam, had been flooded.
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 Iran 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 is 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.