A United Nation's mission has begun evaluating the damage from a widespread drought in Iran that Tehran estimates has caused some 1.7 billion dollars worth of damage, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.
During their two-week visit, the UN team is expected to travel to numerous drought-stricken provinces in the country, IRNA said.
"The experts will work closely with the interior ministry and other ministries to come up with proposals on mitigating the immediate impact of the drought," the agency said.
Iran has been hit hard during the past two years by an unprecedented drought, which has affected 18 of its 28 provinces, and the government has estimated that 12 million people in both rural and urban areas are suffering shortages of drinking water.
In May, Iran said it was ready to accept foreign aid for only the second time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The interior ministry has described this year's drought as an "unprecedented disaster" and Iranian television has shown footage from some of the worst affected regions, with dead camels lying on the roads.
Attempts are being made to transfer stock to less badly hit areas, but cattle owners have started panic selling of their animals.
Also on Monday, an official from Iran's environment-protection organization in the southern provincial capital of Shiraz announced that the drought has dried up Iran's huge southern Bakhtegan lake, and state television broadcast pictures of what it called the "Bakhtegan desert." - TEHRAN (AFP)
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