Search and rescue efforts are ongoing with 22 teams and 125 people in the field after heavy rains near Soltan Shahbaz village in Estehban caused flooding from the Rodbal Dam.

In 2019, heavy flooding in the country's south left at least 76 people dead and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion.
In 2019, heavy flooding in the country's south left at least 76 people dead and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion. (Reuters Archive)

At least 20 people have been killed in flash floods caused by heavy rains in Iran's southern province of Fars, state media has said.

Khalil Abdollahi, head of the province's crisis management department, said on Saturday heavy rains near Soltan Shahbaz village in Estehban caused flooding from the Rodbal Dam.

He said 55 people had been rescued in the flood, which submerged 15 cars. A number of people were still missing.

"Around 5:00 pm yesterday, heavy rains in the towns of Ij and Roodbal in the central parts of Estehban County led to flooding," Yousef Kargar, governor of the county in Fars province, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

"A number of local people and sightseers (from other areas) who had gone to the riverside and were present in the river bed were caught in the flood due to the rise in the water level," he added.

Provincial Red Crescent head Huseyin Dervishi said search and rescue efforts are ongoing with 22 teams and 125 people in the field.

At least 51 households have been affected, and aid would be delivered to the flood victims, he added.

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Climate crisis

Estehban is about 170 kilometres (105 miles) south of Shiraz, the capital city of Fars Province.

Video posted on local media and social media show cars caught in the rising waters of the Roodball river and carried away.

Like other nearby countries, Iran has suffered chronic dry spells and heat waves for years, and these are expected to worsen. Iran has also endured regular floods.

In 2019, heavy flooding in the country's south left at least 76 people dead and caused damage estimated at more than $2 billion.

In January, at least two people were killed in flash flooding in Fars when heavy rains hit the area, a local official said at the time.

Scientists say climate crisis amplifies extreme weather, including droughts as well as the potential for the increased intensity of rain storms.

In neighbouring Iraq in December, 12 people died in flash floods that swept through the north of that country, despite severe drought.

READ MORE: Extreme weather: China faces heat in north, floods in south

Source: TRTWorld and agencies