File photo of flood-stricken areas in Sistan-Baluchestan province

Flood Kills 8, Damages Infrastructure In Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan

Thursday, 04/18/2024

Heavy rainfalls and flooding of local rivers have so far claimed the lives of at least eight people in Sistan-Baluchestan, dealing a heavy blow to the infrastructure of the southeastern Iranian province.

According to the Iranian Red Crescent Society, the flooding resulted in the collapse of a loader and the deaths of three employees of Iran’s Railway company in Khash to Iranshahr road.

Meanwhile, Majid Mohebbi, the director general of Sistan-Baluchestan’s Crisis Management Department, said that heavy rains and flooding caused the closure of 45 rural roads, 12 sub-roads and one main road in the south of the province.

We have reports of the disconnection of telecommunications in 60 villages of Zarabad, Konarak and Chabahar towns due to a problem in their optical fiber, Mohebbi said, further adding that the amount of rainfall in the last two days in the province has “exceeded the forecast.”

A 5-year-old Baloch girl in the village of Kach, Dashtiari district, lost her life after falling into a water hole created due to recent rains and floods.

According to the Iranian media, the relief forces managed to rescue 70 passengers of three buses which were caught in flood on Nikshahr-Chabahar route.

Local officials have urged people to take precautions and avoid unnecessary travels in the province.

Issa Ghazi, agricultural director of Konarak, said that according to the preliminary estimates, the heavy rains over the past two days inflicted more than 5,000 billion rials ($8 million) of damage to the facilities and infrastructure of the agricultural sector, including poultry houses, orchards and farms.

In Nikshahr, 12 villages have lost power as a result of heavy rainfalls and storms.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Sistan and Baluchestan’s Department of Environment warned of the detrimental impacts of the recent flooding on the wildlife.

“Following recent rains, flooding of all rivers and collapse of most dams in the province, it is not unexpected to witness stress and tension in wildlife, especially among native crocodiles. There is a possibility that the crocodiles will leave their primary habitat pond,” the statement added.

Mugger crocodiles, also known as “gando” in the local Baluchi dialect, are medium-sized broad-snouted crocodiles native to southeastern Iran and the Indian subcontinent.

State-sponsored Borna news agency wrote that despite its damages, the heavy rainfalls “revived hopes for an end to the drought” in the province.

In February, the torrential rains in southern Sistan-Baluchestan triggered extensive flooding, particularly in the Dashtyari region, leading to submerged residential areas and the closure of numerous roads. Hundreds of households also incurred damage due to the floods.

Back then, the government was taken to task over its failure to implement adequate flood management measures.

Furthermore, monsoon rains in the province in July 2023 led to the flooding of local rivers, closure of at least 42 roads and damage to hundreds of hectares of palm groves – an important source of income in the impoverished and arid region.

Experts attribute the recent flooding in Sistan-Baluchestan, a heavily drought-stricken region, to the consequences of global warming and climate change.

In an interview with Etemad daily Mehdi Zare, a geologist, remarked that “global warming tends to increase the intensity of extreme rainfall events,” further adding heavy rainfall is a telling aspect of the water cycle.

Sistan-Baluchistan is an economically challenged province in southeastern Iran adjacent to Afghanistan and Pakistan and home to a substantial Sunni community, which has been largely oppressed by the Iranian regime over the past decades.

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