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The face of global warming — ‘Unprecedented’ flooding in Iran

Nearly 100 people in Iran’s south have been injured and the death toll is expected to rise, emergency services said Tuesday. The number of provinces impacted by the flooding has risen to 28 of 31 provinces, as authorities sent safety warnings to mobile telephones across the country.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a message of condolence urging officials to speed up relief efforts and compensation for victims of the floods.

President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday inspected damage caused by flash floods in Golestan Province in northern Iran. He took several cabinet ministers with him. Golestan’s governor was dismissed on Saturday amid public outrage over his absence from work. He happened to be out of the country when the crisis started, reports Reuters.

“We will rebuild Golestan just as it was before, and we will stand by your side,” Tasnim news agency quoted Rouhani as telling a small gathering of villagers.

Heavy rains hit an arid country
Of the 13 different climates in the world, historically, Iran has 11 of them, ranging from arid and semi-arid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast and the northern forests, based on The Book of Iran: A Survey of the Geography of Iran, published in 2003.

But more recently, Iran has been experiencing unprecedented climate-related problems such as drying of lakes and rivers, dust storms, record-breaking temperatures, droughts and floods, according to a study published in February this year.

Basically, the study suggests that there will be longer periods of exceedingly hot temperatures and drought-like conditions in the country’s future. Precipitation, overall, was not expected to increase, but rainfall, when it does occur will be extreme.

Heavy rain outside the city of Shiraz triggered the flooding, Iran’s head of emergency services, Pirhossein Koulivand, said. About 75 millimeters (three inches) of rain was reported in the city in a period of about 36 hours from Monday into Tuesday. Normal rainfall for the month is less than two inches.

Dramatic videos showed floodwaters sweeping away cars in Shiraz, people clinging desperately to light poles and others forming human chains in an attempt to save people being swept away by the raging waters. The latest flooding following last weeks floods that hit Golestan Province, and there is yet to be an official count of the deaths there.

To the northwest of Shiraz, the city of Yasuj reported almost 200 millimeters (eight inches) of rainfall from Monday into Tuesday. Iran’s Minister of Energy, Reza Ardakanian, called the floods “unprecedented” and cited climate change as the primary factor, according to AFP. “Climate change is forcing itself on our country,” Ardakanian said.

When people talk about climate change, it is about something that is going to happen to the world sometime in the future. But global warming is already upon us, and we can see the images of it through the camera lens, and it is real.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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