Drought-stricken southeastern Iran hoping for rain

January 20, 2019 - 10:16

TEHRAN – While an intense burst of snow has blanketed 22 provinces of the country, the southeastern province of Kerman is suffering from the lack of downpours along with severe sand and dust storms (SDSs), Mehr news agency reported on Friday.

Last [Iranian calendar] year (March 2017-March 2018), Kerman province experienced a 60 percent drop in rainfall compared to a year earlier, resulting in a significant decrease in agricultural production. In the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2018), weather forecasts demonstrated an increase in rainfall in the province, while after the first month of winter, Kerman province has met the lowest precipitation rates, facing the same pattern as the previous year.

According to the provincial disaster management organization, over the last 72 hours, storms reaching speed up to 70 kilometers per hour led to particulate matter (PM) concentration heading for 20 times above the safe levels, causing respiratory problems for the residents and blocking the roads over the province.

Recurrent droughts and the lack of rainfall in recent years led the Kerman to become a major SDSs hotspots , generating sand and dust particles which is already haunting the city over and over.  This is while, the province has been receiving snowfall during the first month of winter last year.

Hamideh Habibi, the provincial meteorological organization chief said that PM concentration exceeding the safe levels by 20 times in Rigan county, led to 23 linking roads being surrounded by sandy soil.

After the southwestern province of Khuzestan, Rigan county is the second region in the country being severely haunted by the intensity of PM concentration, leaving 16 villages depopulated.

The region’s governor, Amin Baqeri, warning the residents to take safety precautions, noted that the Road Maintenance Organization and Red Crescent Society forces are standing guard to provide emergency services.

Severe SDSs have also caused damages to agriculture, infrastructure and public roads in the city of Rigan and surrounding villages, he added.

He went on to say that PM concentration reaching over 30 times above the standard levels have stricken Fahraj county eastern Kerman province.

Recurrent droughts and the lack of rainfall in recent years led the city to become a major SDSs hotspots, generating sand and dust particles which is already haunting the city over and over, he also added.

Kerman province is bearing significant impacts of climate change, which has changed the rainfall patterns, however, the amount of rainfall will increase during the second month of winter compared to last month, Maryam Salajeqeh, an expert with the provincial meteorological organization said.

According to data released by the National Drought Warning and Monitoring Center since the beginning of the current water year (September 23, 2018) province of Kerman received 26.6 millimeters of rain while last year’s precipitations in the area amounted to 7.6 millimeters.

With 245 percent increase in rainfall compared to the last year, the province is still 21 millimeters short of rain compared to the long term means.



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