President Hassan Rouhani visits a flood-damaged area in northern Iran, March 2019

More than 60,000 houses have been damaged by floods across Iran, and authorities have issued new emergency alerts with the expectation of continued heavy rain.

More than 25,000 of the houses have been demolished in less than two weeks, said Hadi Derafshi, an official at the Iranian Housing Foundation, on Monday.

The flooding started in northern Iran after a series of storms and has spread through the center to the southwest. At least 45 people have been killed. Thirteen villages in Khuzestan Province, in the southwest, have been submerged.

Authorities issued new warnings of overflowing rivers in 10 of 31 provinces, with more dams opened to try and relieve pressure.

Orders for evacuation of more than 150,000 people were issued for three cities in western Iran, and Iranians told not to travel to the west and southwest. In Tehran, people in 20 districts have been advised to stay indoors.

In Khorramabad, the capital of Lorestan Province in the west, the airport is submerged. The provincial director of the Red Crescent said:

Telephones are not working, our radio communications are down….At this moment we have no news of other cities and villages.

We have requested emergency help from neighbouring provinces but at the present no one can do anything.

Rail transport is also affected, with railways partly submerged in flood water and blocked by landslides.

The crisis has had political effects, amid Iran’s troubled economy. The Government has been criticized for inaction, and President Rouhani ahs quarrelled publicly with the head of the Revolutionary Guards over containment measures.

Iran Daily, March 31: Rouhani and Revolutionary Guards Quarrel Over Handling of Floods