85% of Iran’s population affected by prolonged drought: official

Tehran Times – Over 85 percent of the country’s total population is affected by prolonged drought over the past decade, Sadeq Ziaeian, director of the national center for drought and crisis management affiliated to the Meteorological Organization, told ISNA on Friday.

According to the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), 11 percent of the Iranians are affected by mild drought, 21.5 percent of whom also are under pressure of moderate drought; while severe drought is exerting pressure on 32.5 percent of the people, he explained.

He went on to lament that extremely severe drought also set a new record high in the country causing difficulties for almost 20.7 percent of the population.

Some 0.3 percent of the country’s population are residing in areas with extreme wet spells, another 0.3 percent are also experiencing wet spells, 0.2 percent moderately affected by wet spells and 0.7 percent of the population affected by mild wet spells, he noted.

While only 12.7 percent of the population are experiencing normal precipitation averages, he added.

Referring to the effects of drought on the people over the past year, he said that 21.4 percent of the population is affected by mild drought, 4.8 percent by moderate drought, 2.8 percent by severe drought, and 0.1 percent by extremely severe droughts.

However, 1.4 percent of the Iranians are experiencing extreme precipitation, 2.9 percent severe wet spells, 6.3 percent moderate wet spells, and 10.4 percent of the population are experiencing mild wet spells, he said, adding, some 50.5 percent of the population are affected by normal conditions.

Pointing to the country’s land area suffering prolonged drought during the past decade, he explained that 9.2 percent of the country’s land area is suffering mild drought, while 18.2 and 28.7 percent are facing moderate drought and severe drought, respectively.

Extremely severe drought impacts became widespread on 29.8 percent of the lands, he stressed.

Pointing to the temporal variability in precipitation over the past 10 years, he noted that extremely severe wet spells recorded in 0.4 percent of the country, and some 0.4 percent of Iran’s area is facing severe wet spells and 0.6 percent also experiencing moderate wet spells.

Also, in the same period, 1.3 percent of the country was mildly wet, he added.

Speaking of Iran’s land area being haunted by drought since last year, he said that last year due to increased rainfall which doused the country, drought-stricken land areas also reduced, as only 1.4 percent of which have suffered extremely severe drought.

However, 3 percent of the country recorded extremely severe wet spells, 6.5 percent of which recorded moderate moisture durations and 8.8 percent reported to receive mild wet spells, he highlighted.

Some 48 percent of the country received normal levels of rainfall, he concluded.