Iran raises death toll from mudslides, floods to at least 53

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TEHRAN, Iran (TBEN) — Iran Friday increased the death toll from landsides and flash flooding across the country to at least 53 this week, including those killed in a mudslide in Tehran’s capital the previous day, state television reported.

More than 30 people died in two villages, northwest and northeast of Tehran, after monsoons brought heavy rains causing mudslides there, the report said. Nearly two dozen people died in eight other provinces and 21 of Iran’s 31 provinces were affected by the heavy rain.

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It was feared that the death toll could rise further as at least 16 people were still missing and more bodies were discovered after the rain subsided. According to the report, military personnel had joined rescue efforts and helped transfer thousands of people from remote areas to safer places.

Last Saturday, flash flooding in the drought-ravaged southern province of Fars killed at least 22 people and hit a dozen villages in the province.

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This week’s storm is the deadliest of all rain-related incidents in Iran in the past decade. In 2019, a flash flood in the southern city of Shiraz claimed the lives of at least 21 people, and two years earlier, a similar storm claimed 48 lives in northwestern Iran.

However, mudslides in northern Iran in 2001 and in Tehran in 1987 killed 500 and 300 people, respectively.

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Before Thursday’s mudslide, authorities had warned residents of Tehran’s mountainous areas about heavy rains and possible flooding. More heavy rain is expected in the coming days.

Authorities have attributed the high death toll to widespread disregard for safety measures by people venturing into the storms, with critics citing mismanagement of construction projects, late warnings and other causes.