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Iran Moves 300,000 People To Safer Areas As Flooding Emergency Is Declared in 3 Cities

IRAN -- A man clears away mud from his house following floods in the Iranian city of Mamulan in Lorestan province, April 7, 2019

Some 300,000 flood-hit Iranians are to be housed in flood shelters in Iran's Khuzestan Province following the declaration of a state of emergency in the three cities of Abadan, Khorramshahr and Shadegan, local officials have announced on Saturday April 20.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society says its 2800 relief workers have offered relief aid to some 600,000 individuals and airlifted at least 8,340 to safer areas during the past month.

In the meantime, at least 77 have lost their lives in the floods that have engulfed several Iranian provinces.

President Hassan Rouhani has been visiting the worst-hit areas in Pol Dokhtar and Khorramabad in Iran's Lorestan province on Saturday. During the visit, Rouhani called for building more dams in Iran as a flood prevention measure that would also help solving the problem of water shortage.

Floods Impact Pol-e Dokhtar,Lorestan,Iran
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Meanwhile, as more heavy rainfall has started, the local governor of Khorramshahr has said that the city is being threatened by a new wave of floods as high tides may also bring the water from the adjacent rivers into the city.

Possible floods in the city of Abadan, where Iran's largest oil refinery is located, has caused concerns among the local people and the government.

According to the official news agency IRNA, the state of emergency will remain in place in Abadan and the other two cities at least until Tuesday evening as sea water might return to rivers Dez and Karoun and other local streams as a result of high tides.

The overflowing of the two rivers have affected at least 400,000 Iranians in the area.

Khorramshahr and at least 13 villages located West of the river are the ones feared to be submerged during the next few days.

The local governor of Abadan says this is the worst-case scenario for Abadan, which has remained relatively safe from floodwaters coming from upstream. The city's schools wereclosed on Saturday.

While according to Interior Minister Abdolreza RahmaniFazli, floods have affected 25 provinces and 4,400 villages in Iran, a special committee has been set up to bring about re-forestation in parts of the country where deforestation has been one of the causes of recent floods.

Another committee has been set up to supervise engineering activities around Iranian rivers to minimize flooding risk in the future, Fars news agency reported on Saturday.

Officials say floods have caused more than 130 trillion rials, or $2.5 billion in damages to Iran's agriculture sector alone. This is multiple times higher than what was reported two weeks ago.

In one of the latest developments, the Iranian meteorological Organization has forecast another four days of heavy rainfall in Western, Northwestern, Northern and Northeasternprovinces of Iran.

Snowfall has also started in parts of Azarbaijan and Ardabil provinces as well as in Gilan and Khorasan provinces, while between 30 to 60mm rainfall is also expected in these regions.