Iran improve early warning systems after floods cause US$2.5 billion in losses
For the past month, Iran has seen flooding destroy infrastructure, farms, and displace almost 300,000 people. Estimates of damage caused reach is around US$2.4 billion, setting back the efforts being undertaken by the government and partners in enhancing disaster resilience in the country.
Iran is located in one of the most seismically active zones. Natural disasters on average cause US$5 billion in losses every year, according to UNISDR estimates.
Mahdi Rahmatinejad, Head of the Disaster Information Centre at the NDMO, said:
“The floods were not just caused by the high level of precipitation, but other factors in the built environment, such as deforestation. We need to understand the risk to manage it. This calls for more than just meteorological data. It also requires information on who is at risk, including demographic information, and what are their specific vulnerabilities.”
It is now clear that long-term measures need to be scaled-up to prevent reoccurrence of similar disasters. This past week, officials took part in a joint UN training workshop held in Teheran to build the capacity of Iran’s national agencies to reduce disaster risk.
The workshop focused on strengthening Iran’s disaster loss databases and reporting through the Sendai Framework Monitor. Well documented data through tracking disaster losses, especially frequent small-to-medium scale disasters, is critical for the development of an evidence-based disaster risk assessment and supporting damage and loss assessments. This thorough cataloguing of all disasters, great or small, is essential to help officials identify previously unnoticed trends that impact disaster risk.
Loretta Hieber Girardet, Head of the UNDRR Regional Office for Asia-Pacific, said:
“As a follow up to this workshop, we plan to continue this joint UN effort by supporting the Government of Iran develop and implement its first comprehensive national disaster risk reduction strategy.”
Through this workshop, officials were able to recognise gaps in their current early warning system. In addition to floods droughts and earthquakes, sector representatives also emphasized the need to strengthen local capabilities to forecast and minimise the impact of extreme temperatures.
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