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Iran speeds up relief train to help flood victims, Pompeo under fire

Christian Fernsby |
Following more than two weeks of heavy rain and nearly nationwide flooding, Iran has continued efforts to transport relief to flood-stricken areas, including a new initiative to set up a "relief train".

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Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran (RAI) head Saeid Rasouli announced on Thursday that coordination had been made to distribute the needed relief using the railway system.

The railway system had already coordinated the transportation of more than 14,000 bottles of water, 10,000 food cans, 500 blankets and also other needed material
Rasouli added that with the cooperation of other governmental bodies, the railway system had already coordinated the transportation of more than 14,000 bottles of water, 10,000 food cans, 500 blankets and also other needed material, including aid-loaded transport vehicles.

The railway system will transport the aid to the flood-stricken areas of Lorestan and Khuzestan.

The announcement comes as floods have affected at least 23 of the country’s 31 provinces since heavy downpours began on March 19.

Major floods have been reported in the provinces of Golestan, Mazandaran, Gilan, Kordestan, Lorestan, Fars, Northern Khorasan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad as well as Sistan and Baluchestan.

Estimates by government agencies suggest that the floods have taken the lives and destroyed over 25,000 homes around the country.

Lorestan is said to have suffered the second highest amount of casualties after the Fars Province, based on official reports.

Pakistani political and religious groups have launched a campaign across the country and abroad to collect humanitarian aid to help Iranian flood-stricken people.

Secretary General of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jaffari has asked party’s foreign affairs department head Shafqat Shirazi to direct the MWM office bearers in Australia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Kuwait, Switzerland and United Kingdom to launch campaign for Iran flood victims.

The MWM has also informed the Iran embassy in Islamabad that a special bank account has been set up by the party to collect the donations from across Pakistan to help the Iranian brothers and sisters suffering from massive flood in the Islamic Republic.

In a major rescue operation displaying the preparedness of Iranian armed forces for disaster response, the IRGC Aerospace Force rescued 200 villagers trapped in flood-stricken areas in Ilam, ferrying them to safe zones.

The IRGC Aerospace Force helicopters flew 12 sorties across kilometers of flooded lands in Dareshahr and Majin regions of Ilam to pluck the people.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s unprofessional, interventionist and demagogic comments on the recent floods in Iran.

“My response to the unprofessional, interventionist and demagogic comments of @SecPompeo on the devastating floods—and the humanitarian rescue and aid operations—in Iran,” the top Iranian diplomat said in a post on his Twitter account.

“It seems that the US Secretary of State is unaware of the mismanagement of natural disasters in the US over the past two years, and hence opines -in an unprofessional, interventionist and demagogic manner- on Iran’s management of the horrific and unprecedented floods which simultaneously afflicted 24 provinces.

“Apparently Pompeo has forgotten that the US federal government itself has shown to be incapable of providing sufficient relief in many regions affected by natural disasters, which have claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, cut off electricity and other services in affected areas for days and even weeks, and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

“Indeed, the people of Puerto Rico, as well as the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Michael and Florence, have after months not even been able to have their lives return to a shadow of normalcy.

“More than a decade after Hurricane Katrina showed the utter unpreparedness of the US government to deal with a natural disaster, it would behoove US authorities to provide for their own citizens -including the thousands who are still grappling with the impact and repercussion of natural disasters.

“Secretary Pompeo should not forget that he represents the same US regime which has sacrificed the interests of the American people of whom 43 million, per official data, live below the poverty line, 100 million live in destitution, and 500,000 remain homeless- to pursue foreign adventures; he represents an outlaw regime which has senselessly wasted the lives of thousands of American soldiers and trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, wreaking destruction and bloodshed in the killing of innocent men, women and children thousands of kilometers away from US shores, only in service of the illegitimate interests of Israeli aggressors.

“These massive human and financial resources could have instead improved the economic and political security of the American people and helped save our endangered environment and eradicate global poverty,” Zarif added.

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