Iran + 2 more

Islamic Republic of Iran: Flash Update - As of 31 March 2020

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

Highlights

  • Nearly 41,500 cases of COVID-19 have been detected, 2,757 people have died.

  • Spring floods continue to cause damage to the infrastructures, and agriculture sector worth US$120 million.

  • Iran is grappling with the biggest desert locust invasion in the last 50 years.

  • The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received from the government of Japan the largest ever single contribution to its operations in Iran.

Coronavirus COVID-19

Situation overview:
Between 25 and 30 March, 16,684 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed, including 823 deaths in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This brings the cumulative figures to 41,495 cases detected with 2,757 deaths. Reportedly, 43 medical staff who were responding against the outbreak have died. While 13,911 patients have been discharged, the number of positive cases is accelerating. Iran is the worst COVID-19 affected country in Middle East and North African region.

On 27 March, the Iranian Government announced a ‘Social Distancing Plan’ to break the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent further outbreaks. The measures, which are in place until 8 April, include movement restrictions within and between cities, ban on mass-gatherings, control of business hours, and enforcement of health protocols on travellers.

Humanitarian impact/needs:
By 29 March, over 58 million people had been screened for COVID-19 symptoms across the country. Iran is experiencing severe shortage of essential medical supplies such as ventilators, protective masks, surgical gowns, hand sanitizer and testing kits. The local production capacity and supply chain need to be expanded to meet the increasing demands.

A prolonged struggle with COVID-19 would also impact on the socio-economic situation, such as deterioration of living standards and mental health of the people. Already vulnerable people include low-income households, migrants, refugees and detainees who do not have adequate access to necessities and health care services. A total 18,000 Afghan nationals have been directed to the Milak border since early March 2020, after receiving the screening and necessary healthcare services at Zahedan Alghadir Camp.

Humanitarian response and coordination:
The Iranian Government has announced a relief package of US$24 billion to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, as well as to prevent and control the outbreaks. This includes about a $3 billion allocation to the health sector, $1.2 billion to the unemployment fund, $17.8 billion for low-interest loans to businesses, and $1.9 billion as cash handouts to low-income households.

The Government of Japan has granted $7 million to WFP, in support of its operation in Iran. The grant will be used to purchase a three-month supply of personal protection equipment for more than 5,000 staff and volunteers from the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), and to support 31,000 Afghan and Iraqi refugees with food assistance.

Floods

Situation overview:
As of 30 March, spring floods continue to cause damage to basic infrastructure in rural and urban areas in the southern provinces of Iran. Since the start of the season in late February, 19 provinces have been affected by floods.

Humanitarian impact/needs:
The Ministry of Agriculture Jihad announced that recent floods have caused damages worth US$120 million to the agricultural sector. In Fars Province, floods have caused damages worth more than $50 million. Access roads to 130 villages mostly in the south have reportedly closed due to flooding. The situation is reportedly critical in Qasre-Qand, Nikshahr, Chabahar, Kenarak, and Dolgan towns of Sistan and Baluchistan province. Meanwhile, in Iranshahr, 11 bridges have been destroyed, the road to Bam city is blocked, and floodwaters in Borazjan are creeping over the tops of vehicles, with all markets being closed. In Kerman, more than 10,000 hectares of farmland are flooded, with fields of wheat, tomato, watermelon, vegetables, and flowers destroyed, which has caused damages of around $30 million to local farmers.

Humanitarian response and coordination:
The IRCS and other national organisations continue to conduct rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit provinces. Rescue operations had covered some 7,000 people in worst-hit regions in the Kerman Province where hundreds have been evacuated to safer places. Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization is alarmed about floods and landslides in some provinces. IRNA Relief teams are on alert regarding possible coming floods. The Meteorological Organization recommended the management of dams, distance from rivers, prevention of road traffic and avoidance of unnecessary travel to mitigate the impact of anticipated floods-affected provinces

Desert locusts

Situation overview:
Iran is grappling with the biggest desert locust invasion in the last 50 years. Response teams are fighting the spread in six southern provinces where weather conditions are optimal for breeding; Khouzestan, Boushehr, Fars, Hormozgan, South Kerman and Sistan and Balouchestan provinces.

Humanitarian impact/needs:
Six provinces in southern Iran have been infected by swarms of desert locust in an area of around 45,000 hectares of land. Hatchings in southern provinces are expected to increase to the great amount before the summer if not effectively managed. For instance, it is forecasted the number of hatchings in Boushehr province could reach up to 800 billion from 2 billion as of 15 March.

Humanitarian response and coordination:
On 29 March, President Rouhani said his government would provide the required facilities and credits for producing pesticides to prevent pests and grasshoppers in the concerned provinces. The President said he instructed the Ministry of Interior to encourage businesses that produce pesticides. Partnerships with other organizations under the Ministry of Agriculture, including Iranian Veterinary Organization, Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Management Organization and Land Affairs Organization are needed to monitor all areas. In Lamard township, 2,000 hectares of farmlands have been sprayed. In Fars Province alone, operations have now covered over 4,994 hectares whereas desert locust tracking has been done on 208,500 hectares. Operations against desert locust continue in 51 hectares of farmlands in Qazvin Province.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.