Iran Floods' Damages Estimated at $2.5b

(Monday, April 15, 2019) 09:09

Recent floods in Iran are estimated to have caused up to 350 trillion rials ($2.5 billion) in damages so far, the interior minister said.

In an address to the parliament on Sunday, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli added that "unprecedented" heavy rainfall and subsequent floods inundated 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces since March 19.


Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati, Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami, the head of Iran Meteorological Organization, Sahar Jahanbakhsh and the head of Relief and Rescue Organization, Ali Asghar Peyvandi, were also present in the parliament to report the damages caused by the disaster to their respective sectors and elaborate on measures taken by each before, during and after the floods.


Hojjati said the subsectors of agriculture incurred losses of up to 130 trillion rials ($948.9 million) due to the floods, IRNA reported.


“Farms, orchards, livestock, poultry and bee farms were the hardest-hit,” he said.


Eslami said around 32.5 trillion rials ($237.22 million) worth of damages were inflicted on roads, railroads and related facilities and infrastructure.


“More than 14,000 kilometers of roads have suffered damages. About 725 bridges have been totally destroyed,” he said.


The energy minister said water and electricity facilities across the flood-stricken provinces suffered damages worth 21 trillion rials ($153.3 million). 


“Some 2,352 rural areas suffered electricity outages. We have managed to reconnect all villages, except 35, to the electricity network until now. These 35 villages are presently inaccessible. Water supply to 3,788 rural areas was cut off during the floods. Right now, the problem persists in only 1.5% of these villages.


He noted that precipitation levels saw a 19-fold increase during the first two weeks of the current Iranian year (started March 21) compared with the preceding year's corresponding period to reach 57 mm.


According to the minister, the recent rainfalls have added 5 billion cubic meters of freshwater to Iran's storage dam reserves.


“If we were to derive this water by treating seawater, it would have cost us around $2.5 billion. We have 172 large dams, which are up to 75% full at present,” the minister was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Energy Ministry.


Ardakanian added that precipitations and floodwaters have replenished 40 of the country’s main wetlands. 


Industries Minister Rea Rahmani separately said on Saturday that the industrial and mining units, as well as business outlets, have incurred losses worth 20 trillion rials ($146 million) in the floods. 


“Overall, 25 industrial parks have been inundated and 300 industrial and 9,000 business outlets have incurred between 20-90% of damages," he said.


According to ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, communication infrastructures suffered nearly 15 trillion rials ($109 million) in damages during the recent floods, ISNA reported.  


Lorestan Province was the hardest hit.


For instance, on April 1, flooding cut off three optic fiber lines connecting Ilam Province in the west to the worldwide web for about 24 hours. The lines were soon repaired.   


Oil Minister BijanNamdar Zanganeh said on Friday that the total damage suffered by oil facilities is estimated at 10 trillion rials ($73 million).


Based on the latest report released by Ahmad Shojaei, the head of Iranian Legal Medicine Organization, the disaster has killed 76 people so far, LMO reported on its website on Sunday.


NDFI to the Rescue

A lawmaker said on Monday that President Hassan Rouhani has issued a decree to withdraw €2 billion from the National Development Fund of Iran after receiving permission from Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. 


The funds are to be allocated for alleviating the plight of flood-hit residents and helping rebuild destroyed infrastructures. 


Fatemeh Zolqadr, a Tehran MP, said the current year’s budget cannot compensate the losses incurred by the destructive flooding. 


“In addition to withdrawal from the sovereign wealth fund, other options to help the flood victims rebuild their lives include issuing participatory bonds and opening credit lines by the Central Bank of Iran for agent banks,” ICANA, the parliamentary news website, quoted her as saying.   


The MP emphasized that those in charge should consider priorities when allocating relief aid and called on executive officials to directly deliver funds to flood-stricken families after identifying the victims and estimating damages. 


Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati admitted on Sunday that in view of the scale and scope of damages, the current budget resources are simply too thin and cannot meet all the needs of flood-hit regions. 


“As such, tapping into the NDFI is inevitable,” he said.