Press Release

Relief International Prepares Emergency Response for Flood-Stricken Communities in Southern Iran

Press Release

Relief International Prepares Emergency Response for Flood-Stricken Communities in Southern Iran

More than 100,000 Iranians are facing catastrophic floods in the country’s isolated and impoverished southern provinces. Many of these same areas were affected by the March 2019 deadly torrential rains that inundated hundreds of cities and villages, destroying homes and triggering landslides.


Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s border regions are being overrun with floodwaters that put lives and livelihoods at risk. Over the past few days, Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province has been deluged with a year’s worth of rainfall. Roads have become impassable in these remote, flood-stricken areas and villages are cut off from basic services such as safe drinking water and electricity. Residents of the country’s poorest province do not have the means to relocate and are bracing for more flooding as the rains continue and the forecast shows no signs of relief.

As one of the few international organizations authorized to operate in Iran, Relief International immediately began working alongside residents and local authorities in these provinces to carry out a rapid needs assessment to understand the scale of the destruction and identify the population’s most urgent needs.

More than 2,800 villages across Iran’s southern region remain on high alert as the government determines whether evacuation is necessary. Relief International’s teams are preparing to launch an emergency response to meet families’ most urgent needs for food, clean water, blankets, hygiene kits, and emergency shelter.


Relief International has been active in Iran since 1990, and is a lead actor in emergency response—a critical role in one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. We responded to the country’s most recent disasters: a 7.3 magnitude Kermanshah earthquake in 2017, and country-wide floods in 2019 affecting 26 of the Iran’s 31 provinces. We also support the population of nearly 3 million Afghans in Iran through comprehensive case management, and by providing healthcare, education, vocational training, and small business development services.


Azadeh Hassani is Relief International’s Global Humanitarian Director based in France. Previously, she served as Relief International’s Iran Country Director for four years. Azadeh is an emergency preparedness and response expert with more than ten years of fieldwork experience in a number of countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa. Before joining Relief International, Azadeh worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as an emergency specialist for several years. Azadeh was born in Iran and as a child lived with her family in a number of countries, mostly in the Middle East. She has an undergraduate degree from Tehran, a Master’s degree in Global Health and a PhD in Health Policy from Maastricht University in Netherlands, as well as a Humanitarian Leadership certificate from Deakin University in Australia.

Pascal Arthaud joined Relief International as Country Director for Afghanistan in 2010 and was then appointed as Regional Director for Asia in 2011. He is responsible for all aspects of Relief International’s programming in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, and the Philippines. With nearly two decades of experience managing complex programs at nongovernmental organizations, Pascal’s specialties include establishing strategic partnerships, managing diverse teams and high-level donor engagement. Pascal has worked in humanitarian and development roles in France, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. Prior to his work in development, Pascal worked in the private sector in Paris. Pascal holds a Master’s Degree in Science and Administration from University Jean Moulin in Lyon and a Master’s Degree in Corporate Finance from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris.

Azadeh and Pascal are available for media interviews about the flooding disaster in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan’s border regions and Relief International’s planned response. Contact [email protected] to schedule.