Iran expands evacuations as rains worsen floods

Iran expands evacuations as rains worsen floods

Iran expands evacuations as rains worsen floods

Women and children are being moved to safer areas while men have been asked to stay to assist with relief efforts.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said some 400,000 people are at risk, out of the province's population of five million.

On Saturday, Iraq officially closed the Chazabeh border crossing after Iranian authorities banned travelling and trade through the border amid flood warnings in the south Iranian province of Khuzestan.

The unprecedented floods across Iran over the past weeks have claimed the lives of at least 70 people, the chief of Iran Emergency Organization told official IRNA news agency on Friday.

Around 70 villages in the province have already been evacuated in the past week. The government has told citizens, and especially flood-affected farmers, that all losses will be compensated.

On April 1 the west and southwest were again swamped by floods when heavy rains returned to the area. Lorestan province was the worst hit then, with cities and villages cut off.

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"'Due to the illegal and unjust U.S. sanctions, in violation of UNSC 2231, worldwide efforts to assist Iran have been seriously hampered and there has not been even a trickle of assistance from the UN relief agencies, some of whom have cited the USA sanctions", writes Afrasiabi in his letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres.

Iran's state budget is already stretched under US sanctions on energy and banking sectors that have halved its oil exports and restricted access to some revenues overseas.

In the northern Mazandaran Province, dozens of bridges were destroyed, while in other parts hundreds of villages were submerged by flood water.

Energy companies in the oil-rich region have helped the relief effort by using pumps to remove water. So far, 86,000 people are living in emergency shelters, 1,000 of whom were airlifted to safety.

The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards reiterated the armed forces "were using all their power" to minimise the damage in Khuzestan. All in all 20 out of Iran's 31 provinces reported casualties from the floods.

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