Heavy rain hits Oman; eight dead in Iran

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NUTMEG: Authorities in Oman reported heavy rains on Tuesday and urged citizens not to drive into valleys and beaches due to rising water levels, the official Oman news agency reported. The Omani police blocked several roads, including a highway in the capital Muscat, because of significant “water accumulation,” it said. The Ministry of Education has suspended classes and exams in most parts of the Sultanate.

Bad weather has affected other Gulf states in the Gulf region in the past few days, with several weather warnings being issued. Torrential rains have hit the United Arab Emirates, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, causing widespread flooding in the region. Meanwhile, at least eight people were killed in flash floods in southern Iran due to heavy rains, which are expected to continue until the end of this week, state media reported yesterday.

“After the floods and rains in the southern regions of the country over the past few days, we have seen an increase in the number of victims and deaths,” said the spokesman for the national rescue service Mojtaba Khaledi of the state news agency IRNA. “Eight people have died so far and two are still missing,” said Khaledi, adding that 14 others have been injured.

Five of the dead occurred in Fars province, local crisis manager Rahim Azadi told the state news agency. A local official said Monday that flash floods in the province had killed at least two people. Heavy rain damaged “agriculture, infrastructure, urban and rural housing,” said Azadi. The Iranian Red Crescent has “placed more than 3,000 people in emergency shelters and over 20,000 have received emergency aid,” Mehdi Valipour, head of the rescue and emergency department, told state television.

“Homes have been flooded and infrastructure such as roads and communication systems damaged,” he said, adding that more than 500 teams were providing aid in parts of the south and east of the country. Images of the Red Crescent showed its staff pitching tents in gymnasiums and helping cars that were jammed on flooded roads or stuck in snow-covered mountain areas. Relief operations are ongoing in 87 cities in more than half of Iran’s 31 provinces, it said.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has urged the local authorities in the provinces of Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman and Sistan-Baluchestan to use “all their resources and capacities” to help the residents, IRNA reported. President Ebrahim Raisi commissioned Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian to inspect the flood-affected areas in the provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan and Hormozgan. The weather system should be in place until Friday, an official from the Iranian weather agency told state television.

The largely dry Iran has suffered repeated droughts and regular floods over the past ten years. In 2019, severe flooding in the south of the country killed at least 76 people and caused damage estimated to be more than $ 2 billion. Scientists say climate change exacerbates droughts, and that their intensity and frequency threaten food security. – AFP


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