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EghtesadOnline: Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami says flooding has inflicted damages on roads, bridges and waterways of the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province worth 7,000 billion rials ($53 million).

“Over 800 rural roads were either damaged or washed away by torrential rains, but thanks to the efforts and dedication of road workers and the use of 375 heavy vehicles, all but 30 roads have reopened. All major thoroughfares are open and most secondary roads have been repaired,” he said on Thursday, according to Financial Tribune.

Heavy rainfall, which started on Jan. 9, caused flash flooding in the southeastern provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Kerman and Hormozgan. It was Sistan-Baluchestan that bore the brunt of the recent flooding, as its southern parts received 26 times more rain than last year, IRNA reported. 

Estimates put the damage caused by heavy rainfall to the agriculture sector of three flood-stricken provinces at 9,300 billion rials ($70.45 million), according to Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi, the head of the Disaster Management Department of Agriculture Ministry. 

Sistan-Baluchestan accounts for 69% of the total economic losses caused by the flooding in the agriculture sector, Hormozgan for 17% and Kerman for 14%. Of the overall damages, 42% were inflicted on farms, 36% on water, soil and infrastructures, 17% on horticulture and 5% on livestock, poultry and fishery, he added.

Subterranean canals, roads leading to farms, animal husbandry and fish hatcheries in Sistan-Baluchestan also suffered losses. 

“Towns, such as Konarak, Nikshahr, Chabahar, Qasr-e Qand, Delgan, Mehrestan, Sarbaz, Bampour, Fanouj, Khash, Sib and Soran bore the brunt of flooding," Gholam Heydarzoraqi, the head of Agricultural Jihad Organization of the province, was quoted as saying by IRIB News. 

“Estimates also show 27,000 hectares of land, 7,800 hectares of orchards and 1,454 water wells have been partially destroyed and 3,200 light and heavy farm animals were killed. In addition, 691 husbandry facilities and 952 honeybee colonies were lost,” he added.

The official also referred to the total destruction of 15 greenhouses, 546 subterranean canals and 161 kilometers of farm roads and said, “Losses sustained by the agriculture sector in areas which became impassable due to flooding have yet to be estimated,” he said.     

About 51.4% of the population of the province live in rural areas and farming is the main source of their income. 

According to the latest data by the Agriculture Ministry, Sistan-Baluchestan accounts for a total of 5 million tons of agricultural crops produced in Iran annually, including wheat, dates, tomatoes, watermelons and melons, in addition to tropical fruits like banana and okra, the Persian-language daily Shahrvand reported.

“Agricultural farms in Zarabad, Chabahar and Nikshahr have been completely destroyed,” says Noorshah Mollazehi, the head of Sistan-Baluchestan Agricultural Guilds System of Central Organization Rural Cooperatives of Iran. 

“We believe nothing has remained of agricultural products in the flood-stricken areas. The southeastern province meets a part of domestic demand for tomatoes, Persian melons, watermelons and bananas. There will be a shortage and price increases of these products in the short run,” he said.

According to Mohsen Heydari, director of Sistan-Baluchestan Meteorology Organization, data from 15 rain gauge stations in Sistan-Baluchestan, show more than 100 millimeters of rain fell on three days in Sistan-Baluchestan, which is equivalent to one year’s rainfall in the region.

Mousavi noted that a total of 15,335 billion rials ($116.17 million) have been paid to those affected by flooding since March 21, 2019, to Jan. 12, 2020, in the form of funds and loans. 

From March to April 2019, widespread flash flooding affected large parts of Iran, most severely in Golestan, Fars, Khuzestan, Lorestan and other provinces. 

Iran has been hit by three major waves of rain and flooding over the course of two weeks, which led to flooding in at least 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces.


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