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Drought Causes Rls 2 Trillion Damages to Livestock

Tehran, Iran, June 5, 2000 (IRNA) -- Damages to livestock as a result of drought have totaled at least two trillion rials, announced the Deputy Minister of Construction Jihad in charge of Livestock Affairs, Ahmad Kabiri on Saturday.

The English-language newspaper `Iran Daily' in its Monday issue quoted Kabiri as saying that in 1990 Iran produced about 570,000 tons of red meat. This, he noted, together with 170,000 tons of imported red meat equalled 740,000 tons of red meat. Meat production in 1999 was 721,000 tons while per capita consumption dropped from 14 kg to 11.5 kg, said Kabiri.

The official estimated the investment in animal husbandry during the Third Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2000-2005) at 6.31 trillion rials and noted that 63,000 job opportunities will be generated as a result of this investment.

He further said that in the current Iranian year (started March 20), for the first time, poultry farming has come under insurance coverage in the provinces of Tehran, Qazvin, Isfahan, Khorasan, Khuzestan, Qom, Hormuzgan and Yazd.

Kabiri also mentioned the expansion of exports in livestock product and the creation of support funds for stock breeders and chicken-breeders are among other policies envisaged in the Third Economic Development Plan.

The official added that by the end of the Third Plan, red meat production is expected to reach 806,000 tons a year while chicken meat production will reach 844,000 tons a year and eggs production 626,000 tons per annum.

Hamedan incurs rls 391b in drought loss

Hamedan, Iran, June 5, 2000 (IRNA) -- A severe drought has caused a record rls 391.3 billion in damage to the agricultural sector of this southern province in the current Iranian year (started March 20), an official announced here on Monday.

"Rls 272 billion in damage has been incurred by the loss of sub-surface waters and the depletion of agricultural water supplies," Mohammad Nasser Aravi, an official of the provincial Agricultural Organization told IRNA.

"Some 586,000 hectares of land are under cultivation here, 170,000 of which are under the wet irrigation system and the rest under the dry farming system," he added.

Meanwhile, last year's drought also inflicted rls 119.3 billion in damage on 120,000 hectares of the province's land under the wet irrigation system along with its gardens.

Drought in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan Poses Threat to Afghan Refuges-UNHCR

Afghan refugeesTehran, Iran, June 5, 2000 (IRNA) -- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan had been hit by a drought ''one of the worst in recent memory'' that is seriously affecting Afghan refugees and returnees in the region, the United Nation Information Center said in a press release on Monday.

Speaking to the press in Geneva, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said the drought had caused dislocation, losses of livestock and crop damage, affecting millions of people. The agency estimates that about 400,000 people in the hardest hit provinces now need emergency food assistance. UNHCR's assisted returns of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan to the drought-stricken Afghan provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Farah and Nimroz have been put on hold.

''We are very concerned about the effects of the drought on Iran and Pakistan, which between them host some 2.6 million Afghan refugees - the single largest refugee caseload in the world,'' Mr. Redmond said. ''The situation in large areas stretching across the southern borders of the three countries is said to be critical.''

In Pakistan, the drought is most felt in the southern province of Baluchistan, where 80,000 of the 132,000 refugees are severely affected. In cooperation with local authorities, UNHCR has taken measures to alleviate the effects of the drought by rehabilitating wells, drilling new ones and installing water pumps.

Iran has reported that 17 provinces in the south-east and south-west have been affected, including Khorasan and Sistan-Baluchistan provinces on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

''The situation in Sistan-Baluchistan is so critical that livestock are being moved to adjacent provinces or being purchased or slaughtered by the government to prevent further losses,'' Mr. Redmond said.

In Afghanistan, where there are some 400,000 newly returned refugees and 260,000 internally displaced people of concern to UNHCR, the drought is the worst in 29 years, the spokesman said, adding that the spring rains had failed and the most affected areas were unlikely to receive any more rain before November. Some of the provinces hit by the drought were once the breadbasket of Afghanistan, the spokesman said.

Drought Causes Damages Worth Rls.800b in Hamedan

Hamedan, Iran, May 22, 2000 (IRNA) -- Based on the latest estimates, during the current Iranian year (started March 20), drought has inflicted 800 billion rials in damages to the province, secretary of Hamedan's Natural Disaster Headquarters, Akbar Mortezaqoli, told Iran Daily here on Sunday.

''Since the province is mainly a rural region, agricultural and garden products were hit hardest,'' he added.

The official stated that at present, water shortage is threatening 100,000 hectares under wheat cultivation, 60,000 hectares under hay plantation and 35,000 hectares of garden products.

''A large number of aqueducts and springs have also dried up because of drought and the low level of ground tables has caused many problems for villagers and nomads,'' he said.

He put the value of the damages to livestock, rangelands, aqueducts as well as urban and rural water resources at 279 billion rials and noted that precipitation in the past seven months stood at 232.6 mm, down by 20 percent compared with the average figure of past 28 years.

UN Says Drought in Iran Causes Dlrs 1.7b Damage

Tehran, Iran, May 11, 2000 (IRNA) -- The United Nation Information Center in Tehran said here Thursday that the U.N. system in Iran is planning to end a mission in the next few days to assess the damage resulting from the rapidly developing drought in the country that is affecting hundreds of thousands of people, livestock and crops.

In a fax sent to IRNA, it added that according to the Disaster Task Force of the Ministry of Interior, 17 province in the south, southeast, and southwest of the country have been affected. The Ministry of Interior estimates the total damage at dlrs 1.7 billion, 50 percent of which is due to crop losses.

The damage to livestock is over dlrs five hundred million, while the requirements for urban and rural areas drinking water supplies are in the range of dlrs 60 million.

"The U.N. in Iran is in close contact with the Disaster Task force to monitor developments in connection with the serious situation," Mr. Francesco Bastagli, the U.N. Resident Coordinator said.

The vast Khorassan Province has suffered the biggest damage. owever Sistan and Baluchestan which is to the south of Khorassan and bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, together with Ilam to the west of the country have been the hardest hit. The situation in Sistan-Baluchestan is stated to be so critical that livestock are being moved to adjacent provinces or are being purchased and slaughtered by the government to prevent further losses.

The Disaster Task force of the Ministry of Interior is coordinating the national response to this most severe drought.

The Government has informed the U.N. that it is ready to accept international assistance in support of its efforts. According to the Ministry of Interior, as much as dlrs 20 million are urgently needed for the provision of water tankers and household-type water purifying sets, the report concluded.

Drought Inflicts Heavy Damage on Crops in Various Provinces

Tehran, Iran, April 30, 2000 (IRNA) -- Crops have sustained heavy damage as a result of severe drought which has hit various provinces of the country this year.

The head of the Kohkiloyeh-Boyer Ahmad provincial agricultural organization, Habibollah Rad, said Sunday that the agricultural sector in the province has sustained damages to the tune of rls 226,860 million.

This comprises rls 134,000 million damage to wheat farms, rls 37,720 to paddy-fields, rls 21,980 million to orchards and the rest to other crops.

He said that over 125,000 hectares are cultivated on rain-fed and irrigated land of which 112,000 hectares are wheat and barley field.

He said that the wheat and barley farms have suffered 82 and 47 percent in damages while paddy-fields registered 57 percent, orchards 54 percent and other fields 48 percent.

Meanwhile, an expert at the provincial meteorological department Ardeshir Afshari announced that rainfall in the three cities of Yasouj (provincial capital), Dogonbadan and Dehdasht amounted to 439.8 mm, 211.8 mm and 306 mm, respectively in the last iranian year (ended March 19). He said this shows a decrease of 274mm, 193mm and 186 mm compared to the preceding year.

In the central province of Isfahan, scant rainfall has inflicted damages worth over rls 1,380,000 million to crops.

Abdulhussein Seifollahi, deputy governor general for development affairs, said Sunday that the damage is twice the total budget of the province.

Meager rainfall in the region has caused the water reserve of Zayandeh Rud river, the largest water supplying reserve in the province, to reduce to 25 percent.

At present the water reserve of the dam stands at 393 million cubic meters, Seifollahi said.

Plans have been drawn up to economize in agricultural sector by 30 percent and in potable water sector by 25 percent, he added.

In the Persian Gulf province of Hormuzgan, drought has inflicted damages to the tune of rls 1,380,000 to crops.

Head of the provincial agricultural organization, Gholamreza Hashemi-Pour told IRNA Sunday that inadequate rainfall has caused agricultural production to decline by 20 to 30 percent.

The average rainfall in the province was 72.13 mm last year, he said, adding that meager precipitation has resulted in lowering of the water levels both in the rivers and in subterranean canals. Hashemi-Pour added that drought and shortage of water have also inflicted damages worth 83,500 million to subterranean canals and wells.

In the western province of Lorestan, crops have sustained rls 392,000 billion damage as a result of drought.

head of the provincial agricultural organization ali bazovand told irna sunday that preliminary studies show that at present 145,597 hectares of land cultivated through irrigation, 42,650 hectares with rain-fed products and 9,185 hectares of orchards have been affected by drought.

Meager rainfall in the past three years has resulted in lowering of water level in subterranean canals, he said, adding that the water running in rivers in the province shows an average decrease of 40 percent compared to the previous years.

He said 431,966 tons of crops have been damaged as a result of the drought.

Over 70 percent of lorestan farmers, who live on agricultural produces, are facing problems because of the drought.

Of the 850,000 hectares of agricultural lands in the province, 600,000 hectares are cultivated with rain-fed crops and 250,000 with irrigated crops annually.

Head of the natural resources department of Qochan, Khorasan province, Shahbaz Khosrawi said Sunday that drought has so far inflicted damages worth rls 14,000 million to the pastures in the region.

He said, this is due to a drop in fodder production by 100 kg per hectare, and added that each hectare of pasture in Qochan usually yields 250 kg of fodder but this year due to inadequate rain in spring, grass and plant have not grown in the area yet. qochan is located 125 km northwest of the provincial capital, Mashhad.

He added that under such conditions, a great number of livestocks have swarmed into the region as a result of spring immigration of nomads, thus intensifying pressure on the pastures and giving rise to disputes among villagers.

The pastures in the area total about 300,000 hectares, of which 90,000 hectares are put at the disposal of nomads and migrating tribes.

The nomads own over 150,000 heads of livestocks while the region's pastures have the grazing capacity for 250,000 heads, he said, adding the livestock owners in the city have 18,000 head of cattle and 600,000 head of sheep.

Meanwhile, Qochan governor, Mohammad Charbgou, said Sunday that most subterranean canals and springs have gone dry and the water level in the existing subterranean canals has gone down considerably. Some 17 provinces in the country will reportedly be facing drought this year.