UNICEF will grant Iran $600,000 this year to help the country cope with a severe drought, a senior official of the fund, Mandana Askari-Nassab, said Wednesday.
The aid, raised by developed countries, will be used to buy water tanks to be distributed to severely hit drought-stricken regions in five Iranian provinces, she said, quoted by the official Iranian news agency (IRNA).
A UN delegation has been touring Khorasan province for the past two days to estimate the impact of the drought in the region.
The mission will also travel to the southern provinces of Sistan Baluchestan, Kerman, Fars, Yazd, Hormuzgan and Bushehr in the coming days, she said.
UNICEF granted some $75,000 to the Islamic republic last year to buy water tanks for five provinces, Askari-Nasseb said.
Iran is bracing for a third successive year of drought after suffering its worst drought in three decades in 2000. The drought last year destroyed an estimated 2.8 million tons of wheat and 280,000 tons of barley as well as 800,000 head of livestock.
Officials have said that 12 of Iran's 28 provinces were expected to be affected and large cities, including the capital Tehran, may face water shortages.
While this year's drought is affecting fewer regions, experts say its impact may be greater in communities which have not recovered from the losses of the past two years.
A fact-finding UN mission last year put Iran's losses from the drought that year at $3.5 billion, forcing the country for a second time since the Islamic Revolution to accept international contributions. Iran's parliament recently approved a four trillion rial ($506 million) aid package to farmers affected by the country's third consecutive year of drought.
In a Majlis session broadcast live on state radio, deputies passed a bill requiring state banks to delay farmers' loan repayments – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )