The governor-general of Khuzestan has declared a state of emergency in the southwestern Iranian province following heavy rain and the threat of new flash flooding.
Gholamreza Shariati declared the emergency state late on Saturday after it was approved by Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.
The move will allow state agencies to work directly with local officials responding to flooding.
Shariati said the situation was announced after weather forecasts showed that the provinces lying to Khuzestan’s north were to witness heavy downpours over the next 24 hours, leading to heavy amounts of water moving downstream into Khuzestan and potentially causing rivers there to overflow their banks.
Khuzestan hosts five major rivers, including Karun — Iran’s biggest — multiplying the threat of flooding.
Evacuation orders have been issued in parts of the province over fears of rising floodwaters. Meanwhile, 55 villages lying close to the rivers have been evacuated.
The governor-general said preemptive measures had been taken for the proper management of the quantity of water in dam reservoirs, the prevention of any casualties, and the minimization of damage.
He also predicted that the situation would return to normal by the weekend as rainfall potentially subsides in nearby provinces.
Flooding has left scores of people stranded and continues to cause damage in several areas in south and north of Iran.
The floods, caused by torrential rain, have affected 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces in recent days, with Golestan in the north and Fars in the south, among the most severely affected ones.
More than two dozen people have been killed as a result of the flooding countrywide. The southern city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, with 19 deaths that occurred during Monday’s floods accounts for the highest number of casualties.
Meanwhile, rescue efforts are underway in several provinces.