EghtesadOnline: Pope Francis has sent a large donation to assist tens of thousands of Iranians who lost their homes and businesses in waves of severe flooding that began in mid-March.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said the pope was sending €100,000 (US$113,000), which will be distributed with the help of the Vatican nunciature in Tehran.
“In the course of the past two weeks, violent flooding struck the northeast and southern regions of Iran, and there is fear flooding will continue in the coming days,” the dicastery said in a statement on Friday, Catholic News Service reported.
The death toll as of April 12 was 77 people and more than a thousand have been injured. The homes and property of millions of people have been damaged and at least two million people require emergency assistance, Financial Tribune quoted the dicastery as saying.
The Iranian Red Crescent Society and the UN office in Tehran were appealing for international assistance to help the victims, the statement said. Staff from the Catholic Church’s Caritas Iran already had visited the flood zones and the organization was working with other groups to get aid to the people.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia said they will send aid to Iran to help those affected by flooding that has devastated the southwestern areas of the country, despite strained diplomatic relations between Tehran and the two Arab countries.
Emirates Red Crescent, in coordination with the kingdom’s counterpart, announced a joint initiative on Friday that they said would “ease the suffering of Iranian citizens affected by the devastating flash floods that recently hit Iran”, the National reported.
A joint statement issued by the two relief organizations said the operation is being undertaken within the framework of “Islamic brotherhood and in solidarity with the Iranian people”.
The two agencies are discussing the appropriate procedures to implement the initiative, Emirates News Agency reported.
The widespread flooding that afflicted over 20 Iranian provinces was caused by the heaviest rain in Iran for at least a decade. The situation was exacerbated by floodwater rushing down from mountainous areas toward plains, especially in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, washing away communities on its path and inundating villages and towns downstream on river banks.
This week, Iranian authorities ordered scores of villages to be evacuated, as the effects of severe flooding spread further across the country.
Many residents of Susangerd, with a population of about 50,000, and five other communities in the oil-producing province of Khuzestan were moved to safer areas, as officials released water from major dams.
It is believed to have caused $230 million worth of damages to farms in the province, an agriculture official was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Iranian officials say US sanctions on Iran have hampered aid efforts by blocking payment channels for transferring international financial aid to Iranian relief agencies and impeding the process of procuring new rescue helicopters and spare parts for the country’s aging transport fleet crucial to the airlifting of relief supplies.