WASHINGTON DC – More than 25 out of 31 provinces in Iran are hit by deadly flash floods in recent days and the crisis continues to escalate. From northern provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan to southern provinces of Fars and Bushehr, Iranian people are caught off guard by the deadly flood. The death toll is climbing, and the authorities refuse to alert, alarm or respond to public’s cry for help as they flee to save their own families.
In early March, a scholar-activist in North of Iran, Golestan Province, anonymously released a video clip documenting the abuse and misuse of environment while warning the inevitable flood in that region. Three weeks later that region faced a deadly flash flood killing several people with at least 70 villages in Golestan and more than 200 in Mazandaran submerged in water. The agricultural and farm land of these areas now face a dire economic consequence in coming months.
In the city of Shiraz which is currently engulfed in water including its main historic sites such as Bazzar Vakil and the Qur’an Gate monument in north of Shiraz, 17 people have been killed including eight women and three children.
While these floods have been forewarned by the environmentalist activists and experts, the Iranian regime refuses to heed to their call for evacuation and counter measures. Instead, these activists and experts, men and women, are arrested under the charges of being “spies”, “corrupt” and “threat to national security.” In Iran, environmentalists are considered as political prisoners.
The Iranian regime is using environment as a weapon against the people of Iran through its utter abuse and mismanagement of waterways, constructions, soil and land management. While the people are Iran continue to be the primary victims of such abhorrent policies and practices, the damage to Iran’s environment recognizes no boarders. In recent weeks, Afghanistan and Pakistan have also faced landslides and floods impacting 14 provinces and leaving at least 63 people dead.
Reports from Iran indicates the regime is banning fundraising to aid the victims. OIAC calls on UN Secretary General, UN Environment and all the relevant agencies to speak out in defense of people of Iran, their rights to civil society engagement for climate justice and defense of environment to prevent such crisis. UN must condemn the Iranian regime for its abusive practices and send a fact-finding mission to Iran to ensure aid and recovery support is made available to the people of Iran and not the corrupt officials in power.
OIAC also calls on all environmental groups and organizations to speak out in defense of climate justice in Iran.
OIAC extends its deepest condolences to the grieving families and victims of these recent floods and reaffirms its commitment to voice the Iranian people’s call for democracy and freedom. The solution to environmental, economic, social and political crisis in Iran is to bring this regime down and replace it with a democratic, secular republic government that has its legitimacy through a ballet box.