Iran is grappling with potentially devastating floods in 16 provinces amid a coronavirus epidemic that has killed thousands, with tens of thousands infected.
Unusual snowfalls have blanketed many highland regions in Iran since April 8 and countries to the east, including Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries. Rain has inundated many cities and villages.
Emergency services have come to the rescue of many settlements and stranded passengers from western Iran to central regions and farther east near Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Iran suffered devastating floods in March and April 2019, that killed hundreds and wrecked economic havoc for more than three weeks. The high level of precipitation for two consecutive years comes after years of draught that brought the country to the verge of a serious water crisis. Many regions hit by this year’s floods had not yet recovered from the 2019 disaster.
An official of Iran’s weather forecast organization has warned that rain and snow will continue until April 14, after which a new weather front will enter the country and bring more precipitation.
Iran’s economy is devastated by U.S. sanctions, natural disasters and the coronavirus crisis, with millions on the verge of poverty and government budget running low. Recently, the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei allowed the government to withdraw one billion euros from the nation’s reserves. The government has also asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5 billion loan, but the United States is expected to block the request.