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Iran: UN team to establish recovery plan for flood-affected areas

Iran: UN team to establish recovery plan for flood-affected areas

A team of United Nations experts has returned from flood-ravaged areas of Iran and begun work on a recovery and rehabilitation plan, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

The assessment mission to the northeastern Iranian province of Golestan coincides with a commitment made by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) days after the 10 August floods to assist Iranian authorities in a post-flood recovery.

According to Robert Mister, the team leader and programme adviser, the goal was to better understand the root causes of the frequent floods in the Caspian Sea region, and what specific actions are required in rehabilitating the affected region. "We are trying to design a recovery programme that would reduce the future risks to floods and drought, assuring that such problems do not occur again," he said.

During its mission, the team identified technical studies necessary for effective reclamation, as well as practical measures in forest and range land rehabilitation, water and livestock management and community participation.

The team undertaking the five-day mission comprised experts in agriculture, natural-resources management, hydrology and community participation. OCHA said that the torrential rains, which left 247 dead and scores missing, caused flooding in the northeastern provinces of Golestan and Khorasan, and in the central province of Semnan.

The cities of Kalaleh and Minudasht, as well as 15 villages nearby, were worst affected. The government estimated that 15,000 hectares of agricultural land and 10,000 hectares of forest and rangeland were washed away, resulting in some $375 million worth of damage.