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Features

Autumn Brings Devastating Floods to Iran’s Khuzestan

November 23, 2023
Maryam Dehkordi
3 min read
The southern province of Khuzestan was particularly affected by floods following heavy rainfall on November 18-19, with the streets of Ahvaz and other cities being inundated with rainwater and overflowing sewage
The southern province of Khuzestan was particularly affected by floods following heavy rainfall on November 18-19, with the streets of Ahvaz and other cities being inundated with rainwater and overflowing sewage
The floods and overflowing sewage forced residents, including many elderly people heading to the General Administration of Social Security, to wade through contaminated water
The floods and overflowing sewage forced residents, including many elderly people heading to the General Administration of Social Security, to wade through contaminated water
The municipality has received substantial funding from the government over the past years to complete surface water drainage projects in Ahvaz
The municipality has received substantial funding from the government over the past years to complete surface water drainage projects in Ahvaz
A picture of the Ahvaz cemetery showing the graves submerged in rainwater has been circulating on social media
A picture of the Ahvaz cemetery showing the graves submerged in rainwater has been circulating on social media
"The man wanted to cross the street and, to keep his balance, he held his hand to the electric pole, which electrocuted him and threw him to the middle of the street"
"The man wanted to cross the street and, to keep his balance, he held his hand to the electric pole, which electrocuted him and threw him to the middle of the street"

With the onset of autumn rains in most of Iran, red level warnings were issued for at least seven provinces.

The southern province of Khuzestan was particularly affected by floods following heavy rainfall on November 18-19, with the streets of Ahvaz and other cities being inundated with rainwater and overflowing sewage. 

Despite years of calls on the authorities to address sewage issues, the residents’ plea has fallen into deaf ears. 

"After days of dust-filled skies and school closures, we awoke to the sound of rain. We stood by the window, and the children were overjoyed," says Rezvan, a mother of two who lives in a two-story house in Ahvaz's Amaniyeh neighborhood.

"I told my husband, 'Thank God! The rain will wash away the air pollution.' But a few hours later, it dawned on me that our relief would be short-lived," she adds. 

The floods and overflowing sewage forced residents, including many elderly people heading to the General Administration of Social Security, to wade through contaminated water. 

On November 19, Khuzestan Governor Hossein Mehrab said that 61 locations had been flooded. He urged the Ahvaz Municipality and the Water Authority to take immediate action to address the problems facing these areas and to “deal with the culprits." 

Earlier, the deputy for urban services at Ahvaz Municipality claimed that "the municipality is ready to face floods." 

The municipality has received substantial funding from the government over the past years to complete surface water drainage projects in Ahvaz.

A picture of the Ahvaz cemetery showing the graves submerged in rainwater has been circulating on social media. 

The cemetery is located in an area in the heart of the city that has long been plagued by flooding problems.

"I feel terrible since I saw the photo. I know it may seem strange to some, but my father hated cold and wet places," says Iman, whose father is buried in the cemetery. 

"Now he is cold and underwater…the dead of this city are not at peace, let alone the living ones," he continues. 

Other images circulating on social media show flooded roads and water entering people's homes in Ahvaz.

Reza is the owner of a repair shop on Zand Street, a densely populated area close to Naderi Bazaar in the city center and Fatemeh Al-Zahra Hospital. 

"Zand Intersection and Zand Street are not in good condition in terms of building safety,” he says. “The electrical wiring of some buildings is non-standard, and there have been several fires in the past due to these electrical connections.

"On Sunday, when it was raining heavily, a bare electric cable was hanging from a pole just above my shop. I called the water and electricity organization 10 times and we called the police several times, but no one answered. In the end, one of the passers-by was electrocuted.

"The man wanted to cross the street and, to keep his balance, he held his hand to the electric pole, which electrocuted him and threw him to the middle of the street.

"He was floating in the water and no one dared to approach him. Everyone was calling the emergency services, and an ambulance finally arrived after 15 minutes and took him away. I hope he survived." 

Investigations by IranWire revealed that at least two people were electrocuted in the flooding of Ahvaz roads. 

One of them remains in critical condition. 

 

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