TEHRAN, Iran -- Devastating floods killed at least 18 people and injured at least 94 other in the Iranian city of Shiraz, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported Monday.
Shiraz was not the only city inundated by heavy floods in Iran in the past few days. Other areas like Lorestan and Kermanshah, as well as those on the south coast of the Caspian Sea, like Golestan and Mazandaran, were also hit by heavy spring rains, Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, told the Islamic Republic News Agency.
One person was also killed by flooding in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah Province, Koulivand added.
According to the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), the flash floods in Shiraz washed away cars.
“More than 200 cars were swept away by the flood at the Quran Gate, the entrance of Shiraz,” the head of the traffic police of the country, Col. Nader Rahmani, told ISNA.
Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, started on March 21, and Shiraz was a popular destination for many tourists from within the country.
Some experts blamed officials for poor urban development plans, which blocked the passage of floodwater at the entrance to Shiraz.
Naser Karami, a climatologist, tweeted a video of the flooding that spread on social media, saying: "An apocalyptic image of flood at Shiraz’s Quran Gate. It seems that the flood passage has been turned into a street, a square and a parking. Flood has not hit cars. It has been flowing on its own way."
Iran’s meteorological organization in a statement warned New Year's travelers and others about more rain expected in different cities across the country in the coming two days.