Flash flood kills at least 21 people in southern Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Flash floods in Iran’s drought-stricken southern Fars province have killed at least 21 people, state television said Saturday.

Heavy rains swelled the Roudbal river by the city of Estahban, according to the city’s governor Yousef Karegar.

Karegar said rescue teams had saved 55 people who were trapped by the flash flooding, but at least six people were still missing.

Flooding hit more than 10 villages in the province, he added.

Iran’s interior minister, Ahmad Vahidi, shared his condolences with the families of the flood victims, state television later reported.

Iran’s meteorology department had warned about possibly heavy seasonal rainfall across the country that is facing a decades-long drought blamed on climate change. The dangers of flash flooding have also been exacerbated by the widespread construction of buildings and roads near riverbeds.

In March 2018, a flash flood in Fars province caused the death of 44 people.

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