‘Flood devastation worsened by environmental degradation, improper planning’

April 7, 2019

TEHRAN – Ignoring technical issues in developing infrastructure of the water basin along with excessive soil erosion are what made the recent floods extremely devastating, director for wetland ecosystem office at the Department of Environment has said.

Although, flood is a natural phenomenon which results in natural damages to some extent, some conditions cause more devastating damages, ISNA quoted Masoud Baqerzadeh Karimi as saying on Saturday.

The reason which exacerbated flood wreckage is mostly environmental degradation, namely, soil erosion which makes the flood muddy, he stated, adding, soil erosion is the result of illegal construction, land use changes, river basin destruction, depletion of forests, beaches and vegetation.

Muddy flood is produced by an accumulation of run-off over agricultural land, through which sediments are picked up by the run-off and carried as suspended matter or bed-load. It can damage the road infrastructure and may deposit layers of mud blanket and may also clog sewers and damage private property.

“Inappropriate construction projects through the river banks is the second reason compounding flood devastation,” he lamented, adding that no construction project must be carried out on river beds regardless of being dried.

However, it has been neglected in the country as many roads, tunnels, parks and buildings have been constructed through the dried up river beds and along river banks, he added.

“Not considering the drainage basin shapes is the other reason which is an area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water,” he highlighted

Baqerzadeh Karimi went on to explain that some drainage basins or catchment areas connect into many drainage basins at lower elevations, with smaller sub-drainage basins, which in turn lead to a huge flood.

The shape of catchment basins must be considered through territorial planning, development and construction programs, which unfortunately have always been neglected in the country, he concluded.

Since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year on March 21, some 1900 cities and villages in northern, northeastern, western and southwestern provinces across the country were hit hard by devastating floods incurring a dramatic loss.

According to the latest statistics announced by Iran’s Forensics Organization, some 67 lost their lives in floods in provinces of Fars, Lorestan, North Khorasan, Golestan, Mazandaran, Hamedan, Khuzestan, Kermanshah, Semnan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad and Khorasan Razavi.

In addition to the casualties, the catastrophic floods have caused major damage to properties, destruction of crops, and loss of livestock in many provinces, especially in Mazandaran, Golestan, and Lorestan.

FB/MQ/MG