Iran: Drought - Jul 2021


Disaster description

The Iranian climate is mostly arid or semi-arid and it is heavily affected by depleting water resources, as a result of rising demand, salinization, groundwaters overexploitation, and increasing drought frequency. The country, where groundwater is the primary source of water, has a long history of inefficiency in its water distribution network, particularly in the agricultural sector. Despite not experiencing food insecurity, Iran faces paramount challenges in safeguarding long-term water access during the dry spell. All sectors that rely on the water are exposed, from agriculture to power production and public water supply. Currently, from 2 to 20 million people are at high to medium risk of drought-related impacts. On top of poor precipitation during the 2020-2021 winter, high temperatures have caused more snow to melt, reducing the amount of water stored for later use during the drier months (i.e., late spring and summer). (IFRC, 5 Aug 2021)

The IRCS estimates that 4.8 million people are at medium to high risk of drought-related impacts, mostly in remote and rural areas of the provinces. The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) reports that 29 of 31 provinces, and especially seven – South Khorasan, Kerman, Sistan Balochistan, Hormozgan, Khuzestan, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi – have been severely affected by the drought ... The drought has brought widespread reliance on water trucking and bottled water for drinking. Many individuals or households have moved from rural to urban areas, resulting in the abandonment of villages in rural areas and the worsening of living conditions in urban areas. The IRCS reports the drought has exacerbated the existing vulnerabilities and social marginalization of women. Drought places additional burdens on women in terms of their responsibilities around household care. Moreover, the migration of predominantly young men distorts the gender balance in the urban centres. Children are particularly vulnerable, with increased risks to their health, such as skin and eye diseases, cognitive development, in addition to respiratory problems associated with the drought. (IFRC, 3 Mar 2022)

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