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Iran: Armed Forces marshaled to assist flood victims

Iran’s top military commander has ordered additional and coordinated efforts by the Iranian Armed Forces to help the residents in two provinces in the north of the country affected by severe flooding.

According to Press TV, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, on Saturday issued instructions to commanders in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Iranian Army, Police, and the Defense Ministry that forces under their command should continue “full and organized” assistance in flood-hit areas in a coordinated manner.

Heavy rainfall hit the two northern Iranian provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan on March 19-20. Rivers and other streams — abundant in northern Iran — overflew their banks as a result, in turn flooding cities, towns, villages, and farming communities. Two dams also overflew in Golestan.

Over 56,000 people have been affected in at least 70 villages in Golestan and more than 200 in Mazandaran. At least five people have been killed.

Iranian military forces had already been deployed to help with rescue efforts. But Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei earlier ordered Major General Baqeri to step up such assistance.

The Iranian military official appointed his deputy, Major General Ataollah Salehi, as the on-scene commander at the head of a group of high-ranking military chiefs to coordinate relief efforts between the Armed Forces and civilian organizations on the ground.

The natural disaster came just as people were celebrating the Persian New Year.

The Iranian government has mobilized to help victims in the flooded areas.