05232019Thu

Iran: Flood Damages Reveal Incompetence of a Falling Dictatorship

By Jubin Katiraie

According to local officials across Iran, severe losses have been sustained due to the floods that hit 28 of the country’s 31 provinces during the past week. While no comprehensive reports regarding the economic impact of the floods is available yet, reports have surfaced saying a terrible blow has been dealt to housing, roads, farmlands, animal husbandry farms, and fish farms. As well, officials who deal with agriculture announced a preliminary estimate of $200 million worth of destruction to that sector.

In Kerman Province in the southeast, it is reported that some 1,600 kilometers of rural roads have been washed away by the floods. There are no reports about extent of damage in the city of Shiraz, as people dig out of the mud that is clogging the streets.

The damage to industry, whether by disruption or destruction of industrial plants, is not yet known.

After a week of floods, two major dams in Khuzestan, Iran’s oil province, face a serious threat. In fact, experts have say they believe there will be more floods in Khuzestan, where overflowing dams pose the threat of more serious devastation.

Lorestan Province is one of the worst hit places, according to social media reports. This is unverified, as there is a news blackout about economic consequences of floods in Lorestan and Ilam and to some extent Kermanshah provinces bordering Iraq.

Many reports are coming in from Northern Khorasan, Golestan and Mazandaran:

- Officials in the Iranian province of Northern Khorasan say floods have caused 4 trillion rials ($30 million) of damages to the road network, and the nomadic tribes in the province have lost some 700 billion rials worth of their animals in the floods. Javad Nazari, the Crisis Manager of Northern Khorasan told the official news agency IRNA that houses and farmlands in the province have sustained 3 trillion rials of damages from the extreme weather.

- In Golestan province, preliminary numbers indicate damages that are estimated at millions of dollars. In Galikosh, in the eastern part of Golestan province 500 billion rials of damages were sustained by houses, roads, and farmlands. Torrential rains, floods, and high winds have also caused 620 billion rials of damages to nomadic tribes living in Golestan province. Road damage in this province have been estimated at 1,000 billion rials, but the figure may have risen.

- Initial reports from Galougah in Mazandaran province estimate the damages at 480 billion rials. Some 60 percent of rice paddies were reportedly destroyed by flood water. Tens of kilometres of roads in Mazandaran province have been washed away by floods causing an estimated 3 trillion rials ($24 million) of damages. Farmers have sustained an estimated 5 trillion rials ($38.5 million) of damage.

Local officials claim that plans are underway to compensate the damages, but did not elaborate. President Hassan Rouhani promised Golestan, Mazandaran, and Khouzestan provinces compensation, following one of the country’s worst years in terms of economic growth and inflation. However, this may not be possible, as many social media users have noted that the budget allocated to crisis management is around 130 billion rials ($1 million), which is negligible compared to the damages incurred, as well as compared to what religious organizations receive from the government.

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