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Iran: UN relief agency to deliver shelter aid to flood-stricken areas

Iran: UN relief agency to deliver shelter aid to flood-stricken areas

Following the record rains that struck Iran a week ago, the United Nations refugee agency today began loading trucks with shelter materials for delivery to one of the country's northeastern provinces.

Agency staff in Mashad in eastern Iran are today loading five trucks with 200 family tents and 2,000 plastic tarpaulins for delivery to Gorgan, the capital of Golestan province, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told reporters in Geneva. In that province, some 1.2 million persons have been affected by the rains and floods that have caused at estimated $62 million in damages, according to initial assessments.

UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said that, overall, the floods have reportedly killed more than 200 persons and destroyed infrastructure, agriculture and livestock, housing and personal property valued at more than $78 million in northeastern Iran. It was not yet known if any Afghan refugees have been affected, he added, noting that there were 2 million Afghans in Iran, including some 48,000 Afghans in Golestan province.

"Five UNHCR staff will be travelling with the shelter material that is leaving tomorrow morning for Gorgon," Mr. Janowski said. "The staff will assess the needs of any refugees living in the province, and discuss with the authorities regarding any further help UNHCR may be able to provide the affected communities," he added, noting that the agency has additional stocks available in Mashad.

A UN assessment mission is currently in the region, and will shortly report back regarding the extent of the damage caused by the record flooding, reportedly the worst the region has seen in 200 years, the spokesman said.

In related news, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today in Geneva that in response to an appeal from the Tehran Government, $60 million had so far been made available for relief purposes in Iran.