A report by Iran’s Shargh newspaper says at least 200 people are still missing following the severe landslide and mudslide northwest of the capital Tehran last week.
The newspaper quoted locals as saying that the repugnant odor of the bodies which are buried under the mud has taken over the area around the Shiite shrine complex of Imamzadeh Davoud, one of the places worst hit by mud and floodwater. Some locals said they have seen many dismembered body parts.
Shargh claimed the locals had not been warned about the possibility of the flood beforehand, while Sahar Tajbakhsh, the head of the National Meteorological Organization, said in a TV program that the amount of precipitation was not anything new for the area, a valley that has experienced heavier rains with no such floods. She concluded that some construction or development projects must have changed the course of the water, causing the catastrophe.
According to official figures, as of Wednesday, 95 people are confirmed killed in the floods. More than 20 of Iran’s 31 provinces are affected by heavy rains and floods, with at least 20,000 homes destroyed.
Indian sub-continent summer monsoons usually bring some rain showers to Iran’s arid plateau, but every few decades the impact becomes more intense and causes flooding.
Partly due to the arid nature of the land and partly because of neglect in urban planning, even a modestly strong storm leads to deadly floods in Iran. Many dry riverbeds are choked off with construction or debris dumped by residents, leading to sudden flash floods in places no one expected.