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Iran’s Armed Forces Relief Aid to Flood-Hit Northern Region

Sunday 24 March 2019
Iran’s Armed Forces Relief Aid to Flood-Hit Northern Region

Aqqala in Golestan province inundated by flood waters (Photo by Fars News Agency)

Iranian Armed Forces have moved to assist residents in two provinces in the north of the country affected by severe flooding.

The move comes after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called on officials and the nation to assist the flood-affected people of the two northern Iranian provinces of Golestan and Mazandaran.

Ayatollah Khamenei also ordered Iran's Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri to step up relief efforts in the flood-hit areas, where incessant rain has affected over 56,000 people in at least 70 villages in Golestan and more than 200 in Mazandaran, according to local officials.

In response, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, on Saturday issued instructions to commanders in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Iranian Army, Police, and the Defense Ministry that forces under their command should continue “full and organized” assistance in flood-hit areas in a coordinated manner.

Heavy rainfall hit the two northern Iranian provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan on March 19-20. Rivers and other streams — abundant in northern Iran — overflew their banks as a result, in turn flooding cities, towns, villages, and farming communities. Two dams also overflew in Golestan.

Major General Baqeri appointed his deputy, Major General Ataollah Salehi, as the on-scene commander at the head of a group of high-ranking military chiefs to coordinate relief efforts between the Armed Forces and civilian organizations on the ground.

The natural disaster came just as people were celebrating the Persian New Year.

The Iranian government has mobilized to help victims in the flooded areas.

Iran’s First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri and Interior Minister Abdul-Reza Rahmani Fazli have both traveled to the flooded areas to personally oversee rescue efforts by the Iranian administration.

Jahangiri on Saturday dismissed the governor-general of Golestan Province, Seyyed Manaf Hashemi, following public outrage at his absence from work. He reportedly traveled abroad after the disaster hit. The Iranian first vice-president has replaced Hashemi with one of his deputies.

On the same day, Jahangiri headed a crisis management meeting held in the provincial capital of Gorgan, where he said the Iranian establishment would draw on all of its capabilities to help the victims of the flooding.

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Iran Golestan Mazandaran Floods

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