The United Nations General Assembly has designated October 13 as the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) to encourage every citizen and government to build more disaster-resilient communities and promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. The day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of reining in the risks people and communities face in exposure to natural disasters.
The 2021 theme focuses on “international cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses.” We can stand up to the risk of natural disasters and reduce the number of people affected by disasters and their damage with good management.
In 2021, the people of Iran have been as defenseless as in previous years, without receiving the slightest support from the government against natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, forest fires, and drought. There is no trace of global targets in the performance of the mullahs’ regime.
The Iranian people, especially women, are facing natural disasters as they experience severe economic pressure due to the horrific outbreak of the Coronavirus in Iran. The corrupt clerical regime has abandoned all its responsibilities towards the people in the face of natural disasters and calamities. It does not help the afflicted except for its propaganda purposes.
Women are among the first victims of the regime’s anti-people policies. In every crisis, from water shortages to floods and earthquakes, they face particular health and nutrition conditions, losing their shelter and living facilities.
It becomes impossible for women to lead a healthy daily life in such circumstances. Many of these women are mothers responsible for the care and nutrition of their children. Many of them are their family’s breadwinners who receive no form of support in the face of natural disasters.
Floods, the biggest natural disaster in 4 decades
Floods have been the biggest natural disaster in Iran over the past four decades, posing the greatest dangers to the lives of the Iranian people. (The state-run Hamshahri newspaper – February 20, 2021)
Most parts of Iran are exposed to devastating floods. The scale of the damage and loss of life and property due to the flood is increasing.
In almost all months of 2021, floods have occurred in different parts of Iran. A surge in May caused damages worth 37 million Tomans to the agricultural sector alone in Semnan province, central Iran. (The state-run Razavi news agency – May 10, 2021)
From July 14 to 21, 2021, flash floods overran 57 cities in 15 Iranian provinces, including East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Alborz, Kerman, Fars, Sistan and Baluchestan, Semnan, Kurdistan, Isfahan, Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Mazandaran, Hormozgan, and Yazd. (The state-run News Network – July 21, 2021)
In Mazandaran, a woman died due to the floods, and another two due to lightning. (The state-run ISNA news agency – July 17, 2021) A man and a woman died in the floods in Kerman. (The official IRNA news agency – July 17, 2021)
The flood inflicted damages on Mazandaran villages. In the meantime, a bridge collapsed and cut off communication between several communities. (The state-run News Network – August 2, 2021)
Floods inflicted 12 billion Tomans worth of damage on Qazvin, including damaging the bridges in this province between 30 to 70 percent. (The state-run Young Journalists Club website – August 4, 2021) Six people lost their lives, and a five-month-old baby went missing. (The state-run Mehr news agency – August 4, 2021)
In addition to financial damages, three persons went missing during the flood that ran over the city of Kalibar in East Azerbaijan province. (The state-run News Network – August 9, 2021)
Three women lost their lives in the flood that hit Bashagard in Hormozgan province. They were caught in a severe flood while crossing the river. (The state-run News Network – August 20, 2021)
In addition to the flash floods in spring and summer, the likelihood of heavy downpours and flooding is high in autumn and winter, said Mostafa Fadaii, head of the Floods Committee. (The state-run ILNA news agency – July 22, 2021)
Doing nothing to compensate flood damages
Watershed management operations can reduce flood damage by up to 70%. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – September 15, 2021) However, the clerical regime’s inaction and failure to manage the watershed have inflicted considerable financial and human losses on Iran. The deprived areas and people with lower socioeconomic status are the prime victims of such damages.
Lack of funds to manage drainage basins, especially the liberation of riverbeds and floodplains to control floods and reduce damage, is among the causes of severe harms caused by floods in Iran under the mullahs’ rule.
The Iranian regime does nothing to prevent floods or compensate for the damage of previous years.
Farmers in Khuzestan lost more than 700 billion Tomans during floods in Khuzestan in 2020. Dairy and fish farmers also suffered severely. The clerical regime needs to provide at least eight desalination plants to purify drinking water and solve the problem of Khuzestan. Still, it has so far failed to do so. (The state-run News Network – July 24, 2021)
Earthquakes in 2021
Earthquake is the deadliest natural disaster felt in almost every Iranian city. Iran accounts for 6% of the world’s natural disaster casualties and damage, while it accounts for only 1% of its population. The economic damage caused by natural disasters in Iran averages $5 billion annually. (The official IRNA news agency – July 28, 2021)
The head of Tehran University’s Institute of Geophysics announced the registration of 2,619 earthquakes spanning from March 21 to June 21, 2021. (The official IRNA news agency – June 22, 2021)
Five of these earthquakes had a magnitude of more than 5 Richter, 33 earthquakes between 4 and 5 Richter, and 210 earthquakes between 3 and 4 Richter. Heavy earthquakes with a magnitude higher than five Richter shook Bandar Genaveh of Bushehr province and Shoghan in North Khorasan province twice, and Salehabad of Ilam province once.
The recordings also show 41 earthquakes occurring in Tehran. The number of earthquakes recorded from June 22 until July 22 was 677 earthquakes. (The official IRNA news agency – July 28, 2021)
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 Richter shook Mashhad, the capital of Razavi Khorasan province, on September 13, 2021. The cities of Quchan, Neishabour, Dargaz, and Chenaran also felt the vibrations.
The earthquake ruins still standing
The Iranian regime has not yet rebuilt the historic city of Bam in Kerman, 17 years after the earthquake that destroyed it. “There is not a night that they do not talk about the earthquake at home; I have felt the earthquake in all the moments of my life,” said a girl the same age as the quake.
On this tragic event’s anniversary, a journalist wrote, “The December 26, 2003 earthquake erased Bam residents’ memory! This remark is not a plebeian statement by ordinary people. When I talked to psychologists, neurologists, and even sociologists, they considered it an utterly scientific statement. They said that a catastrophe that goes beyond people’s imagination partially or entirely erases their memory. They may even suffer from some unknown diseases.
“The residents of Bam still live in trailers. Many of the earthquake ruins are still standing. The regime officials did nothing for the people of Bam. ‘It was as if they had a mission to do what the earthquake could not do to us,’ said one resident. An older woman said, ‘They made people experience the Doomsday before it happened.’
“Regime officials built only a few buildings for their showcase. Otherwise, they have deliberately kept the city deprived and in ruins. One can still see the traces of the earthquake in every alley after 17 years.” (The state-run Aftab-e Yazd newspaper – December 26, 2020)
Some 140,000 hectares of Iran’s natural areas have suffered 169,000 billion Tomans of damage due to fire over the past decade. (The state-run Hamshahri newspaper – December 14, 2020)
More than 17,000 fires occurred in the forests and pastures of Iran in eight years from 2013 to 2020, which damaged 162,000 hectares of jungles and fields in Iran, official statistics say. (The state-run Salam-e No newspaper – July 15, 2021)
According to the Parliamentary Center for Research report, fires in forests and pastures have increased in the past 20 years. Twenty-one thousand hectares of Iran’s forests burned down to ashes due to fire in 2020. Most fires broke out in forest lands, especially in the Zagros vegetation area. Most fires in the Zagros region were in the lands where the government was running a cultivation plan. (The state-run Asriran.com – June 12, 2021)
From 2011 to March 2021, an average of 2,000 fires broke out each year during ten years, inflicting damage on an average of 18,000 hectares every year. Fires in natural resources have destroyed 100 hectares of trees every year. (The state-run salamatnews.com – August 9, 2021)
Throughout 2021, not a day went by without forest fires making headlines in the state media.
Examples of forest fires
On June 1, 2021, wildfires torched large parts of Zagros Jungles in just a few days in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Bushehr, Fars, Lorestan, and Yazd provinces. Even Tehran got a taste of this disaster.
In July 2021, wildfires incinerated dozens of hectares of vegetation in Shabliz Forests in the Pataveh district of Dena county, in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.
In August 2021, fires in Miankaleh (Mazandaran province), Gachsaran (Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province), Hayqar Strait (Fars province), and Kalbir region of Arasbaran forests (East Azerbaijan province) burned down hundreds of hectares of trees and pastures. The Kalbir forests were burning for about 50 hours.
Fires in the Sivan village of Marand in East Azerbaijan province torched 250 hectares of pasture lands. (The state-run salamatnews.com, August 9, 2021)
Due to drought, 2021 was one of the worst years as far as forest fires are concerned. Every day, a corner of the Zagros oak forests to the woodlands in the northwest catches fire. According to reports, about 2,700 fires have destroyed thousands of hectares of Iran’s forests and pastures since March 2021. (The official IRNA news agency – August 27, 2021)
Officials are absent for reigning in the forest fires
Poor performance of government agencies in timely control of fire is the main reason it spreads to other areas.
All provinces lack sufficient equipment, including sprinkler helicopters, to effectively contain the fire. Therefore, with every fire, locals must take action with empty hands and without the minimum equipment. Usually, the road to many burned areas is impassable, causing a waste of time in reigning in the fire.
Improper forest management and the interference and entanglement of urban areas and forests are also causes of forest fires. These factors create and increase the periods of forest fires.
“According to the law, we should spend 100 percent of the revenues from natural resources on conservation and restoration. However, we usually receive only 30 percent,” said Massoud Mansour, deputy Minister of Agricultural Crusade and head of the Organization of Forests, Rangelands, and Watershed Management. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – September 15, 2021)
Let us keep in mind that the clerical regime never provides clear statistics on the budget and expenditures to protect Iran’s national resources.
In the face of government inaction, people mobilize on their own to contain the fire. 370 NGOs worked to support forests and pastures in 2020. Women also played an active role in such endeavors. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – September 15, 2021)
Iran will have no forests in 60 years
Every 20 seconds, an area the size of a football field is destroyed from Iran’s forests. Consider a few statistics:
Comparing statistics between 1956 and 2020 shows that Iran’s forests have reduced by one and a half million hectares during the last six decades, meaning that 360 square meters of Iran’s forests and pastures are destroyed every second.
Every year sees the destruction of 1.5 percent of the forests. Every five years see the obliteration of one million hectares of woodlands.
If this trend of destruction continues at the current pace, there will remain no trace of forests in Iran by 2081. (The state-run Asriran.com – June 12, 2021)
Droughts in Iran
The state-run Hamshahri newspaper reported in May 2021 that the year 2020-2021 is one of the worst water years in Iran.
In 2021, we see that the range of drought progress has gone beyond the arid and semi-arid provinces. Official statistics show that there is also a risk of drought for the green and rainy regions in the north.
The National Center for Drought and Crisis Management has officially announced that drought is occurring throughout Iran. Drought affects agriculture, drinking water, and other issues. Deforestation in the northern regions and washing valuable soil has a significant impact on drought in these regions.
The governor of Gilan province announced that 30% of Gorgan Bay’s 400 square kilometer area has dried up. If Gorgan Bay dries up, not only will this valuable ecosystem be destroyed, but it will turn into one of the largest dust centers in northern Iran.
In addition to the drying up of Gorgan Bay, desertification threatens 300,000 hectares of land in Golestan province. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – September 16, 2021)
Tehran, Karaj, and Varamin and their environs have entirely dried up, and the inhabitants of these cities must migrate to survive.
One hundred percent of Hormozgan, Kermanshah, Hamedan, and Chaharmahal, and Bakhtiari provinces are affected by drought. The lives of these provinces’ residents are affected by the consequences of drought, including their agriculture, livestock, and drinking water.
In the meantime, drought hurts women more than ever. Drought in the agricultural sector impacts the quantity and quality of crops, disrupts livelihoods and causes widespread unemployment. (The state-run salamatnews.com – July 28, 2021)
300 Iranian cities will be affected by water stress. Announcing this shocking figure, water researcher Mostafa Fadayifard said: “Iran has left behind the ‘water crisis’ and reached ‘water bankruptcy.’” The regime’s macro policies, including inadequate allocation of financial and credit resources, failure to tackle widespread corruption, lack of accountability of managers and officials, etc., intensify the water resources crisis. (The state-run Hamdeli newspaper – May 17, 2021)
It is necessary to build dams to prevent drought. In Iran, however, there is no dam management. It is essential to open the lower valves of the dams every year to drain the mud. The government, however, does not do these things at all. (The state-run eghtesadonline.com – August 7, 2021)
The regime has evaded the responsibility of solving the problem of dehydration and drought. Officials portray the crisis as irremediable by citing reasons such as low rainfall and Iran being in the arid and semi-arid belt. Environmentalists, however, blame poor water management as the real reason.
To make changes in desert and arid areas, the government must have a specific budget and plan. For example, it should establish water-transport plants or grow garden products to help slow down the drought.
The clerical regime’s officials have never had and will never have effective planning to compensate for the water crisis. The head of the Environmental Protection Organization has already acknowledged that Iran would disappear due to water shortages.
Dust and air pollution
The dust problem has existed in Iran for nearly two decades. Dust is not limited to Khuzestan province. The drying of wetlands due to government mismanagement is one of the reasons for the increase in fine dust in Iran.
At certain times of the year, dust storms affect about 22 provinces to different degrees. Sistan and Baluchestan in the southeast, Kerman in the south, Yazd in the center, Khuzestan in the southwest, and Ilam in the west face this phenomenon every year. The dust has caused severe damage and challenges to the lives of the residents of these provinces.
The budget bill of 2021 did not allocate even a single budget line to dealing with the dust. (The state-run Jam-e Jam newspaper – June 9, 2021)
120-day winds, scattering of dust, and critical air pollution are a problem for the people of Sistan and Baluchestan every year. Every year from early May to early October, about 180 days are affected by severe storms. Storms also lead to the scattering of fine dust and cause critical air pollution.
Farming, animal husbandry, and fishing are the main jobs of residents in this region. The drying of the Hamoon wetland and its consequent dust have caused eye and respiratory diseases among locals. The clerical regime has so far taken no action to address this crisis. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – September 13, 2021)
The clerical regime neither wants nor can reduce risks of natural disasters
The catastrophic damages caused by natural disasters and the lack of infrastructure are just a few of the thousands of problems the clerical regime has inflicted on the Iranian people. It is clear that this regime, as one of the world’s most corrupt governments, neither wants nor can control the crisis of natural disasters it has created.
One of the regime’s officials drew a simple analogy in this regard. Issa Kalantari, the former head of the Environmental Protection Organization, admitted that no enemy could have done to Iran’s natural resources what the ruling regime did over the past years. (The state-run ISNA news agency – October 15, 2017)