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  • An aerial view shows a house in floods in Golestan province, Iran, March 22, 2019.

    An aerial view shows a house in floods in Golestan province, Iran, March 22, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 March 2019

Heavy rains caused severe flooding in Iran and killed at least 19 people and injured more than 100 in southern and western Iran, according to the Iranian News Agency Tasnim. 
 

The Ministry of Interior advised Iranians Monday evening to cancel any trips and take the warnings seriously with the Disaster Management Organisation sending nationwide text messages to warn people about taking routes that are prone to flooding, including those in mountains and river banks.

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The disaster comes during Iranian New Year, Nowruz, holidays when many Iranians travel within the country.

"There were only two sets of 15-minute heavy rainfalls that caused the flood to spread through the city," a resident of Shiraz, the worst-affected city, told Al-Jazeera reported. "The number of casualties would have been less, had people avoided staying there or leaving as soon as they saw the flood coming."

The country's Meteorological Organization put 12 provinces on high alert until Wednesday, predicting a higher chance of flood due to heavy rains across the country from western parts Monday and Tuesday to eastern and northeastern regions, later on, local news agencies said. 

Fars news agency reported that President Hassan Rouhani cut short a trip to Qeshm Island due to the flooding disaster.

In a public statement, Rouhani offered condolences to the victims while thanking rescue crews, the armed forces and the police for rescue operations.

Opposition and some media outlets have criticized Rouhani over the handling of the flood disaster.

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