Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Date: 10 Jul 2001


Iran - Drought OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Ref: OCHA/GVA -2001/0135

OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Iran - Drought

10 July 2001

The UN Country Team has released the Inter-Agency Assessment Report on Drought


1. Iran is experiencing the third consecutive year of extreme drought. Ninety percent of the urban, rural, and nomadic populations are being severely affected. Sistan & Baluchestan, Khorasan, Kerman, Fars, Hormozgan, Kohkilouyeh and Boyerahmad, Khouzistan, Ilam, Isfahan, Semnan, Yazd and Boushehr are among the extremely affected provinces.

2. The UN in-country inter-agency mission comprised of UNDP, UNICEF and FAO in co-ordination with the relevant Government authorities, visited four of the hardest hit provinces, i.e. Fars, Kerman, Khorasan and Sistan & Baluchestan, from 2-14 of June 2001 to assess the effects of the drought. The full mission report is available at the OCHA Internet Website at:

The mission concluded that the severity and the effect of drought in southern, eastern and central provinces are far greater than last year.

3. Water: The shortage of water in rivers and the rapidly falling water tables resulted in an acute lack of drinking water in both rural and urban areas including Tehran, Mashad, Zahedan, Boushehr and Isfahan. Water scarcity has reached a critical situation in 8 provinces, i.e. Boushehr, Fars, Isfanhan, Keman, Khorasan, Semnan, Sistan & Baluchestan, and Tehran, affecting 90% of the population. So far, five cities, i.e. Tehran, Bushehr, Hamadan, Mashad and Zahedan, have started to ration water. The rural population and their livestock in central, eastern and southern parts of the country have started migrating from their villages to other areas in search of water.

4. Livestock: Over 75 million commonly held livestock, (80 % of which are nomadic sheep and goats) are affected by the drought. Over 200,000 nomadic livestock owners have lost or continue to lose their only source of livelihood. This aspect requires immediate attention to prevent major population displacements.

5. Agriculture: Based on the official estimates, this year's drought is directly affecting more than 2.6 million hectares of irrigated farms, 4 million hectare of rainfed agriculture, 1.1. million hectare of orchards and more than 75 million animals. Iran imported seven million tons of wheat, becoming the world's biggest importer, last year. This year, this figure may increase further, as farmers are expecting reduction of 35 - 75% wheat and barley production in the drought affected provinces.

6. Environment: Many internationally known wetlands and lakes, e.g. the Hamoun wetland in Sistan & Baluchestan province, Lake Kaftar, and Lake Bakhtegan in Far province, are completely dry. The increasing number and severity of bush fires and sandy storms have negatively impacted wildlife and the livelihood of local population. Many plants and animal species are severely affected and some of them face the threat of extinction.

7. Health: Due to lack of drinking water in rural areas, the population is exposed to higher risks of enteritis, diarrhoea and communicable diseases. The poor condition of livestock and the number of animals infected with enteritis and skin parasites pose risks of zoonosis diseases among drought victims. Increasing morbidity and mortality have been reported in most drought-affected areas.

National Response

8. Last year, the Government allocated IRR 1,103.7 billion (approximately $137,962,500) to mitigate the effect of the drought. More than half of the budget (IRR 600 billion) were used for 168 urban, 1,252 rural and nomadic and 362 irrigation water supply projects, 155 watershed management projects and 859 projects for construction of small earth dams and maintenance of damage qanats. 1,421 mobile and 1,222 stationary water tankers were procured to provide drinking water to 244 cities and 12,224 villages. A total of IRR 89.5 billion was allocated to line ministries for providing medicine for livestock, seed for drought affected farmers, water to Abadan and Khorramshahr in Khouzistan, Chabahar in Sistan & Baluchestan and Ghom, and feed and water for wildlife. A grant of IRR 300 billion has also distributed between 120,000 drought-affected farmers and herders. In addition, the Government procured 1,383,607 heads of livestock to limit the damages to the livestock owners and distributed 271.145 tons of barley among the drought-affected herders.

9. The Government of Iran, since early spring, has been providing water for people and fodder for livestock in many drought affected areas. Recently the Parliament approved a bill to allocate IRR 4,000 billion (approx. USD 500 million) to mitigate the effects of the drought. Half of this budget will be allocated to the Agricultural Bank in order to provide loans to drought mitigation projects such as in-farm soil and water conservation, water supply, maintenance of damaged qanats and watershed management. On 20 June 2001, the Cabinet designated the next six months as the "Water Crisis Period" in the country to address this severe problem affecting the population.

10. UNDP with the support of the Government is organising a Sub-Regional Seminar on Drought Mitigation in Iran at the end of August. National officials/experts and UNDP officers from Afghanistan, India, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will participate in the seminar to exchange information, experiences and studies and discuss practical medium and long-term strategies. UN agencies, such as FAO, WFP, WHO, WMO, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF, OCHA and the World Bank have been invited.

Emergency Needs for International Assistance

11. Although the Government of Iran has not issued an international appeal, it has asked the UN to coordinate the international assistance. The following items are urgently needed:

Water related equipment:

A total of 12,000 mobile water tankers (epoxy coated) with capacities of between 12,000 - 18,000 litres

A total of 12,000 stationary tankers (epoxy coated) or portable plastic water tankers with capacities of between 5,000 - 10,000 litres

Provision of polyethylene or PVC pipes and raw materials (2000 km of pipes with different sizes and 20 tons of raw materials are needed)

Water pumps (both electric and diesels): a total of 2500 pumps different capacities from 5 to 100 litre per second and pumping head of 50-150 meters

250 chemical and biological water quality test equipment

150 water bottling and packing units


Medicaments and animal feed

35 tons of multivitamin and mineral supplements and 80 tons of livestock insecticide and acaracides are required.

1.5 million tons of animal feed (barley)


Loans for farmers and herders

Grant assistance for reconstruction of damaged qanats

12. The UN Country Team has been closely working with the Disaster Task Force of the Ministry of Interior to address the drought issues. The UN Country team can be contacted at Mr. Francesco Bastagli, UN Resident Coordinator ( - fax: +98 21 873 2819).

13. Donors can make their contributions directly to the Iranian Government or to relevant UN agencies. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is prepared to serve as a channel for unearmarked contributions to be used for relief assistance. These will then be allocated in consultation with the Government of Iran and relevant organizations in the United Nations system. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.0, Swift code: UBSWCHZ12A at the UBS AG, P.O. Box 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: OCHA - Iran - Drought. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

14. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, of bilateral relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.

15. This situation report, together with the inter-agency assessment report and further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at


Telephone: +41-22-91712 34;

Fax: +41-22-917 00 23


In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Focal Points:

Mr. J. Boutroue (Chief, Africa I and the Middle East)

Ms. T. Ghebremedhin (Desk Officer)

Direct Tel. +41 22 917 1438/3194

Press contact: Ms. M. Moulin-Acevedo, direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 60