Dramatic footage showed crumpled cars piled up deep in mud and water and people clinging to lamp posts after floods swept through the city of Shiraz, where most of the deaths occurred on Monday.
Pirhossein Kolivand, head of Iran’s emergency medical services, said four children were among those who died, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reports.
High water is said to have damaged thousands of houses in the city and other towns, and 26 out of 31 regions are on high alert for imminent flooding because of torrential rain forecast for the coming days.
The spread of flooding to the south comes after days of floods in the north which affected more than 56,000 people living in 270 villages and small towns in the regions of Golestan and Mazandaran on the Caspian Sea.
Five people were killed in floods in the north, according to the state-run Press TV channel.
Iran’s judiciary said the government’s handling of the disaster was being investigated after it was criticised for reacting to slowly to the floods.
“Any shortcomings regarding the handling of te floods, failure to provide relief and aid to the survivors will be investigated,” judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi was quoted as saying by Mizan news agency.
Fars governor Enayatollah Rahimi told state TV the flooding was under control and rescue and aid workers had been deployed to the flood-hit areas.
Iran’s energy minister Reza Ardakanian blamed climate change as the cause of the floods.
“Climate change is forcing itself on our country,” Tasnim quoted him as saying. “These floods in Iran are the result of climate change worldwide.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
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