Deputy head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organization Mohammad Hassan Talebian said Monday that as many as 730 historical sites in 25 provinces across the country have suffered damages in the recent heavy rainfalls and flash floods, according to local reports.
He added that initial evaluations of the extent of damage caused to cultural heritage sites have came to an estimation of 300 billion tomans (roughly $90 million) worth of funds required for the restoration and revival of the flood-hit sites, Tehran-based Mehr News Agency reported.
Talebian expressed regret that the recent floods have inflicted severe damage to some historical sites in a number of provinces, saying monitoring of sites, structures or bridges in the river beds takes precedence over any other issues for the cultural heritage organization.
Although he deemed the majority of historical bridges to be mostly in good shape, the official went on to add that some parts of these bridges have fallen off and are in need of urgent restoration.
He also noted that the Mir Fatah ice-house in Hamedan province, belonging to the Qajar period, has collapsed after suffering 70 percent damage due to the high volume of rain that fell suddenly on the dome-like structure from above.
Talebian further stated that the cultural heritage organization has submitted a report on the extent of damages to the country’s historical sites to UNESCO, saying the agency’s experts were likely to visit Shoushtar in Khuzestan province on Friday.
He added that Iran can receive global financial aid for restoration of its UNESCO-inscribed historical sites.
Flooding in Iran has killed at least 70 people, and forced the mass evacuation of thousands, as heavy rain continues to fall on much of the country.
The floods occurred during Iran's new year holiday of Norwuz, and left many stranded. The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reports floods killed people across 13 provinces. According to IRNA, "The disaster began with heavy rainfalls in the northern provinces of Iran since March 19, and continued across Iran with flash floods in southern, central and western provinces."
CNN reports more than 140 rivers have burst their banks; 409 landslides have been reported; 78 roads have been blocked; and 84 bridges have been affected.
Iran's Foreign Ministry has said US sanctions on Iran are blocking humanitarian aid to flood-hit areas.
On April 2, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement on the flooding in Iran:
"These floods once again show the level of Iranian regime mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness. The regime blames outside entities when, in fact, it is their mismanagement that has led to this disaster," he said.
"The United States stands ready to assist and contribute to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which would then direct the money through the Iranian Red Crescent for relief."