Volunteers and staff from the Iranian Red Crescent are working hard to support an estimated 2 million people in desperate need of support following catastrophic flooding. Photo: Iranian Red Crescent.
Photo: Iranian Red Crescent

Tehran/Geneva, 15 April 2019 – An estimated 2 million people – one in every 40 people in Iran – need humanitarian assistance as a result of the massive floods that have swept across the country.

Heavy rains and flash floods have affected more than 2,000 cities and towns across almost all of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to the Iranian Red Crescent. An estimated 10 million people have been affected in some way, including more than half a million have been displaced from their homes – some permanently. At least 78 people have been killed and more than 1,136 injured.

Zahra Falahat, the Iranian Red Crescent’s Under Secretary General for International Affairs and International Humanitarian Law said:

This is the largest disaster to hit Iran in more than 15 years. The scenes that our volunteers are reporting are devastating – entire villages washed away in a matter of minutes, countless homes and buildings damaged and completely destroyed.

“For the Red Crescent, this is one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts in our history. We are making every single resource we have available to save and support people. But it is not enough.”

More than 18,000 Red Crescent relief workers – most of them volunteers – have been involved in the humanitarian response. Seventeen Red Crescent helicopters along with 41 boats have been used to rescue people trapped by rising waters. In all, more than 457,000 people have been reached with Red Crescent services, including about 239,000 people who have been provided with temporary shelters.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an international emergency appeal seeking 5.1 million Swiss francs to expand Red Crescent support to an additional 30,000 families (equivalent to about 150,000 people). The IFRC-supported part of the operation will focus on providing unconditional cash grants to each of these families.

The operation also seeks to replenish some of the emergency stocks that the Red Crescent has used so far to ensure that it can continue to respond quickly to emergency needs throughout the country. The Iranian Red Crescent has been emptying its warehouses in response to this operation, distributing vast numbers of tents, blankets, plastic sheets and other emergency commodities, as well as providing tons of food stuffs. With further rains forecast in the coming days, it is feared that the impact of this disaster could continue to grow.

Sayed Hashem, IFRC’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, is in Iran to support local response efforts. He said:

The needs caused by this disaster are very real, and the response of the Red Crescent and other local actors has been remarkable. But this emergency is so severe that international support is absolutely needed. We urge our partners around the world to support our appeal.”

Related content

Read more about IFRC’s emergency appeal for Iran.

Media contacts

In Tehran:

Iranian Red Crescent: Mansooreh Bagheri, +989121396432, intdep@rcs.ir

IFRC: Rana Sidani Cassou, + 961 71 802 779, +989396280477  rana.cassou@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org

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