At Least 70 Dead, 35 Missing in Iran Floods
At least 70 people were killed and 35 others are still missing following torrential rains and heavy flooding in northern Iran, reported AFP, citing state television on Sunday.
Earlier reports said 60 people had been killed in the northern Golestan province, while floods in the northeastern Khorassan province had left two dead and 26 others missing.
According to Golestan province governor Ali-Asqar Ahmadi, cited by state television, the bodies of at least 70 victims had been found since the waters rose Friday, flooding 17 villages in this province, which lies east of the Caspian Sea.
He said rainfall in the region stopped early Sunday, adding that 4,000 people had so far been evacuated from the affected areas.
Rescue teams are still searching for the missing people.
Local officials on Saturday called for essential supplies to be sent in, with tents and medicines for those affected.
According to reports reaching Tehran, some 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of farmland have been destroyed, and traffic bound for the northeastern border area with Turkmenistan was re-routed to another road crossing the east of the country.
Infrastructure, mainly bridges, in the region has been damaged, the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported.
Iran has been suffering from its most serious drought for 30 years.
For the past two days, the weather services have been warning people in the north of the country over the risks of flooding.
The agency said that President Mohammed Khatami had met with families of the victims and paid condolences.
"The grave...floods in the Golestan province and part of the Khorasan province have led to a big disaster ... I condole with the noble people of Golestan province... and the respected people of the Khorasan province over this calamity," he said.
The Iranian president called on related officials to make their "utmost efforts" to deal with the disaster and extending relief to those affected.
The floods have mainly hit Kalaleh in the Gorgan region in the northeast part of Tehran.
On Saturday, the Iranian Parliament allocated an urgent aid package to those affected by the floods, and relief operations started on Sunday with seven helicopters – Albawaba.com