January 30- The Iran Project – Heavy snowfall blanketed much of Iran on Sunday (Jan. 28), shutting down schools and airports while trapping cars on major intercity highways.
The storm which began late Saturday touched more than 20 provinces and two-thirds of the population, delivering its heaviest punch to the north where it dumped some 80 centimeters of snow in the altitudes.
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri ordered the country’s Armed Forces to help in relief operations if needed after heavy snowfall causes disruption in some parts of the country on Sunday.
The top commander also announced the Armed Forces’ readiness to help in efforts to open roads across the country that have been closed due to the heavy snow.
Meanwhile, Head of Relief and Rescue Organization of the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran Morteza Salimi said on Monday that the rescue workers have provided services to 56,200 people trapped in the snow in 21 provinces nationwide during the past five days.
Salimi said the rescue services have been offered to the people in 173 snow-ridden cities and villages in provinces of West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Chaharmahal- Bakhtiari, Aedebil, Isfahan, Alborz, Tehran, Razavi Khorasan, Khuzestan, Zanjan, Semnan, Qazvin, Kordestan, Kohgiluyeh-Boyer Ahmad, Golestan, Lorestan, Mazandaran, Qom, Hamedan, and Markazi.
He added over 2,200 emergency accommodations have been provided and 58 individuals also have been transferred to the medical centers.
Air and railroad travel passengers described scenes of confusion and frustration. Some trains destined for Tehran have been stranded midway, with people stuck in the train for hours.
The snowfall, unprecedented in Tehran in the past decade, has resulted in closure of schools and many other organizations for two consecutive days.
The snowstorm that has blanketed much of Iran’s western and northern parts has also caused power outages and rising gas consumption in some areas.
The snowfall has in the meantime raised hopes for better water reserves, as low precipitation had caused concerns about drought and a harsh summer in Iran.