Iranian Red Crescent teams responding to heavy flooding in Iran

Published: 17 April 2016 14:00 CET

By Stephen Ryan (@stiofanoriain), IFRC and Hassan Esfandiar, Iranian Red Crescent

Torrential rain spread across Iran from the morning of Wednesday 13 April 2016 until the weekend, wreaking havoc across the country. These flash floods have inflicted serious damage across 12 provinces, with Lorestan and Ilam in the west, Kurdistan and Kermanshah in northwest, and Khuzestan in the southwest, being among the worst-hit.

Three people have been reported killed by the floods. In Lorestan, a train was derailed by the rising waters and in Khuzestan, Dez dam was ruptured by the strain of the heavy rainfall.

Local Red Crescent branches and volunteers were among the first to provide assistance. Monitoring the evolving disaster from its emergency operations center, the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran activated its emergency response system when floodwaters continued to rise. Trained teams were immediately dispatched to flood-hit areas.

During the first 48 hours, 138 Red Crescent teams made up of over 550 rescuers and relief workers were involved in the response. Over the following days, this increased to over 1,300 staff and volunteers. Six of the National Society’s helicopters were deployed to enable rescue teams reach and evacuate those who had been cut off by the rising waters, including transferring casualties directly to hospitals. Over 260 vehicles also brought relief items and water pumps to the affected regions. Relief operations are ongoing in more than 40 cities and towns.

Dr. Naser Charkhsaz, head of the Relief and Rescue Organization of the Iranian Red Crescent explained: “Our teams are simultaneously conducting both rescue and relief operations in the affected provinces. So far over 11,000 people have received relief services.”

"About 660 people have received outpatient services and 57 people were immediately evacuated to safer places by Red Crescent relief and medical forces," added Dr. Charkhsaz.

With continuing rain on Friday, Iranian Red Crescent activated its early warning system for Khuzestan province to alert people to stay away from rivers in Bahmanshir and Arvandrood.  

Weather conditions improved over the weekend, however many areas are likely to remain waterlogged following three days of incessant rain. Iranian Red Crescent teams are prepared to continue this emergency response for as long as needed.

Flash floods are a frequent occurrence in Iran, and with dozens of specialist teams and branches throughout the country, Iranian Red Crescent already has the required resources to manage this response without external assistance.

For more information

Iranian Red Crescent

Mr. Mohammadi, USG
International affairs & IHL,

Mr. Hassan Esfandiar
Deputy Director International Communications,

Tel: +98 21 88662618
Fax: +98 21 88201052


IFRC in Iran

Davood Pourkhanali
Country Representative, Iran

Tel: +9821 88672425-26