Iran’s president visits Khuzestan Province to address environmental crisis
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has paid a visit to the southwestern province of Khuzestan, which is reeling from heavy floods and dust storms, a situation which has led to disruptions in the distribution of water and electricity there.
Rouhani arrived in the provincial capital city of Ahvaz on Thursday on top of a delegation of several cabinet ministers and vice-presidents to closely examine the environmental crisis in the oil-rich province.
Upon his arrival, Rouhani pointed to power outrages and the problems facing water supplies and said “the government paid attention [to the issue] from the very first day and we examined the issue and outlined plans.”
The government immediately formed a crisis management committee which provided a report about the measures adopted to tackle the problem, he said.
Rouhani pointed to an upcoming special meeting in Ahvaz with regard to the dust storms and noted, “I will announce the results of the meeting to the people.”
He added that based on a report submitted by the energy minister, water distribution issues will be resolved in the coming days.
Iran is currently implementing plans to resolve the root causes of dust storms inside the country, but there is a need for regional and international cooperation to eliminate the other origins of such storms in Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, Rouhani pointed out.
Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province is struggling to emerge from back-to-back power outages which have severely disrupted life and led to expressions of discontent with local authorities and the government.
Since 2002, the province has been reeling from sandstorms, 75 percent of which are said to originate from Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, but a combination of events recently have brought Khuzestan to the brink of virtual collapse.
Heavy rains have washed filaments of dust and sand into power transmission equipment, leading to long outages. Water supplies are not unscathed, crippling life in the provincial capital Ahvaz and other cities.
On Monday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called on Iranian officials to immediately address the problems facing residents of the southern Khuzestan Province.