Iran accuses US of restricting humanitarian aid from reaching flood-affected areas

Tehran: Iran on Wednesday accused the United States of restricting the flow of humanitarian aid provided by other countries from reaching flood-hit parts of the country.

IRNA quoted President Hassan Rouhani while addressing a meeting with his cabinet members, saying that the Iranian Foreign Ministry, along with other legal entities, should find out why Iranian residents settled abroad are not able to send their aid to Iranians inside the country.

Appreciating the efforts made by relief operations, the leader noted that all officials provided 24/7 services to people.

In an earlier statement released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, spokesman Bahram Qasemi had said that the US in an “inhumane and cruel approach has blocked all humanitarian assistance to flood-hit people”.

However, on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo said the U.S. “stands ready to assist and contribute to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which would then direct funds through the Iranian Red Crescent”, Anadolu agency reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded by calling Pompeo’s offer “fake news”.

Citing local media, Express Tribune confirmed that the death toll from continued flooding in Iran, especially in its southern and western parts, rose to 62 on Wednesday. Around 400 people have been reportedly injured, while many others were displaced across the country.

According to Al Jazeera, local authorities have ordered for an evacuation of more than 70 villages in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, amid a state of emergency in several flood-hit provinces across the country.

The flash floods, which hit the country on March 26, have destroyed electricity and telecom networks, washed away roads, while in some affected areas people continue to wait on rooftops for rescue efforts to reach them.
Meanwhile, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in a Twitter message announced that initial aids to Iranian flood-stricken people are on the way.