Iran floods: death toll continues to rise

The death toll from major floods in Iran over the past 15 days has risen to 62, the head of the Iranian Legal Medicine Organisation has told local media.

Ahmad Shojaee told the semi-official Fars news agency the southern province of Fars had been hardest hit with 21 dead. Fourteen people had died in the western province of Lorestan and eight in the northern province of Golestan, he said.

Flood-related deaths have been reported in 11 of Iran’s 31 provinces, Shojaee added.

The semi-official Isna news agency said the current toll was a tally of the victims whose bodies had been transferred to coroners across the country, indicating the count could still rise.

Most of the country has been affected by flooding since March. The north-east was swamped on 19 March before the west and south-west of the country were inundated on 25 March, killing 45 people.

Flooding in the west and south-west continued on 1 April, when heavy rains returned.

“Seventy-eight intercity roads have been blocked, as many as 2,199 rural roads and 84 bridges have been washed away,” Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Organisation, told state TV. “Across 15 provinces, 141 rivers burst their banks and around 400 land slides were reported.”

The government said the flooding had damaged nearly 7,500 miles (12,000km) of roads, or 36% of the country’s entire network.