Iran evacuates flood-threatened villages after heavy rains kill dozens

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An aerial view of flooding in Golestan province, Iran, on March 22, 2019. (Tasnim News Agency/via REUTERS)
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) visits areas affected by floods in Iran's northeastern Golestan region on March 27, 2019. (AFP / Iranian presidency handout photo)
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Vehicles are stacked one against another after a flash flooding In Shiraz, Iran, on March 25, 2019. (Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS)
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Damaged vehicles are seen after a flash flooding In Shiraz, Iran, on March 25, 2019. (Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS)
Updated 31 March 2019

Iran evacuates flood-threatened villages after heavy rains kill dozens

  • At least 45 people were killed this week after the heaviest rains recorded in Iran in at least a decade
  • Police renewed calls against unnecessary journeys even though Iran is celebrating the Nowruz new year holiday

DUBAI: Authorities in Iran worked on Saturday to evacuate villages threatened by flooding in southwestern areas as forecasters predicted more of the heavy rains that have killed at least 45 people this week, state media reported.
State television said at least 11 villages lying near the Dez and Karkheh rivers in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan were being evacuated as officials released water from two major dams along the rivers due to forecasts for more rain.
Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, who is in charge of water resources, said authorities were working round-the-clock to “control floodwaters and to minimize possible damage.”
“It’s estimated that in the next five days about three billion cubic meters of water will flow into dam reservoirs in Khuzestan due to rainfall ... 1.8 billion of which (is above capacity and) will have to be released,” he told state television.
In the neighboring province of Lorestan, at least eight villages and parts of the town of Dorud were being evacuated, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.
Officials have said the government would compensate residents for flood damage.
At least 45 people were killed this week in flash floods in northern and southern Iran after the heaviest rains recorded in Iran in at least a decade, the state news agency IRNA quoted Health Minister Saeid Namaki as saying.
Western and southwestern parts of the country are expected to bear the brunt of the storms in the days ahead.
Police renewed calls for people to avoid unnecessary journeys even though Iran is celebrating the Nowruz new year holiday, a time when many families travel.
Iran has implemented measures to prevent rain and flooding affecting its main crude oil export terminal on Kharg Island in the Gulf, the head of the Iranian Oil Terminals Company told the semi-official news agency Mehr on Saturday.
National Iranian Gas Company said earlier its pipeline network had not been affected by the bad weather. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Helen Popper and Edmund Blair)


UAE in seeks to boost its high-tech military industry

Updated 22 November 2019

UAE in seeks to boost its high-tech military industry

  • The UAE is reshaping a military industry already seen as the region’s most sophisticated
  • The UAE’s defence industry dates back two decades

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates is making a push to develop high-tech military hardware that would give it control over critical defence capabilities and lessen reliance on imports.

Wary of threats from rival Iran, and concerned over moves by some allies to hold up arms sales, the UAE is reshaping a military industry already seen as the region’s most sophisticated.

State defence companies have been brought together to form EDGE, a $5-billion conglomerate to spearhead development of advanced weapons for the country’s military.

Those ambitions were put on display at this week’s Dubai Airshow where the military handed an EDGE company a $1 billion contract for guided missiles.

“Like many countries, on specific critical capabilities you want to have sovereignty,” EDGE Chief Executive Faisal al-Bannai told Reuters.

The UAE’s defence industry dates back two decades, built through joint ventures and technology transfer programmes.

Much of it now sits under EDGE, manufacturing drones, small ammunitions and providing maintenance.

Abdulla al-Hashimi, assistant undersecretary for support services at the UAE Ministry of Defence, said sovereign capabilities were a “necessity” for security and the economy.