Almost 4 weeks ago, floods began in the north of Iran spreading to 1900 cities, towns and villages and 13 provinces in its path and is currently travelling from Agh Ghala to Shiraz . So far, new agencies are reporting that around 70 people have been killed as a result of floods. The floods that have been plaguing Iran since March 17 have now reached the south-western city of Ahvaz in oil-rich Khuzestan Province, with the Governor of Khuzestan ordering that five regions of the city - Eyn Do, Goldasht, Siahi, Sadat and Salim Abad - be evacuated yesterday, following blackouts caused by the floods.
Other officials are saying that the Kianshahr and Malayesheh districts should be on alert and ready to evacuate. Over 100,000 people living on the outskirts of the city, who were already suffering from extreme poverty, are thought to be affected by the floods. Seyed Mohsen Mousavi, the Khuzestan Representative in the Supreme Council of Provinces said that flood barriers broke and water from the overflowing Karkheh River entered Kianshahr through the Salman Channel at the entrance of Ahvaz, and surrounded the Ghadir Stadium and engulfed the Police Square. The water was then diverted to the populous Ein Do and Malashieh regions. Mousavi said: “The Salman Channel should not have been opened towards Ahvaz and this measure was extremely wrong.” He explained that the 24,000 people living on the fringes were not warned about the diversion of the water, which endangered their lives.
Throughout the crisis, there has been no help from the government with regards to aid distribution, rescue efforts, or the erection of flood barriers. (They sent the Revolutionary Guards in to quell protests about the last of aid, instead.) A director of Dasht-e Azadegan’s Cooperative for Agriculture and Natural Resources - a state organisation responsible for agricultural land management – has said that the Iranian authorities have shown nothing but incompetence and laxity during the floods.
Hossein Marmazi said that, as a result of this mismanagement, tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land was destroyed in Khouzistan Province and evacuated people had nowhere to go. He explained that for seven months experts from his cooperative had warned the authorities about severe floods in early spring. He said: “We insisted that the marshes and moats must be dredged and that in the event of a flood, towns, and villages will be swallowed up under water. Nobody listened to us.”
The people have been staging angry demonstrations against the Regime’s inadequate response to the country's worst floods in a decade, citing the lack of adequate shelters for those made homeless and decisions to release water from major dams, causing major damage to people’s homes and businesses, to avoid hitting the Regime’s oil wells.