04/06/2019, 16.51
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Thousands of people displaced by Iran floods as US sanctions hinder aid

In all, 1,900 cities, towns and villages have been affected. More downpours are forecast today. Deforestation and climate change are among the main causes. The UN emergency agencies have not been able to intervene because of sanctions.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Floods caused by recent heavy rains have displaced thousands of people in Iran with the death toll standing at 70 for now.

As people struggle to recover from the natural disaster, which has been blamed on climate change and deforestation, fingers have also been pointed at US sanctions for the arrival of hindering the humanitarian aid the country extremely needs.

The extremely heavy rain began on 19 March in northern Iran with the first ten casualties with the emergency eventually affecting the mostly arid south and west.

Heavy downpours are now set to strike the south-western provinces and officials say they will release water from key river dams that are dangerously full.

Women and children are being moved to safer areas whilst men have been asked to stay to assist with relief efforts.

Some 1,900 cities, towns and villages have been affected. The town of Susangerd, with a population of 50,000, is under evacuation orders.

Thousands of roads, bridges and buildings have already been destroyed. So far, 86,000 people are living in emergency shelters, of which about 1,000 were airlifted to safety.

Sanctions, which were re-imposed after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year, have hampered rescue operations, this according to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Iranian-American political scientist Kaveh L. Afrasiabi agree.

'Due to the illegal and unjust US sanctions, in violation of UNSC 2231, international efforts to assist Iran have been seriously hampered and there has not been even a trickle of assistance from the UN relief agencies, some of whom have cited the US sanctions,” writes Afrasiabi in his letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres.

The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution UNSC 2231 for a joint plan of action on the Iranian nuclear issue.

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