At least 18 dead as floods sweep Iran: emergency services

Tehran (AFP) - The death toll of floods that have swept across most Iranian provinces has risen to 18 with more than 70 injured, the country's emergency services said Monday.

National Emergency Service chief Pirhossein Koolivand said the casualty toll in the southern city of Shiraz was 17 dead and 74 injured, while another person was killed in Sarpol-e Zahab in the western province of Kermanshah, the service said on its website.

Iran has been facing unprecedented floods in 25 of its 31 provinces, the country's Crisis Management Organisation said.

The latest floods have struck mostly west and southwest Iran and follow major flooding on March 19 in the northeast's Golestan and Mazandaran provinces, for which no official casualty toll has been issued.

Emergency services have been hampered by Iranian New Year holidays, with many employees on vacation.

The police have advised against road trips in the coming days, with many roads blocked by flooding or landslides caused by heavy rains.

The Crises Management Organisation and the health ministry, in charge of hospitals, have cancelled all leave and been placed on full alert, while provincial chiefs have been ordered to remain at their posts.

Iran's meteorological service has warned that the rains will carry on into Wednesday.