March 26 (UPI) -- At least 25 people have died in recent flash flooding throughout Iran, a government official told state-run media in an updated death toll Tuesday.
At least 18 people died in the badly hit city of Shiraz, as two were reported dead in Golsetan and five others were killed in Mazandaran, Ahmad Shojayee, head of the Forensic Medicine Organization of Iran, told the state-run Fars News Agency on Tuesday. Early estimates placed the death toll at at least a dozen.
The city of Shiraz was the worst hit, as heavy rain caused widespread flooding there. In that city alone, 119 people were injured, Head of Iran Emergency Medical Service Pirhossein Kolivand told Fars News Agency.
The storm came while many Iranian families were traveling to Shiraz and other parts of the country for the Iranian New Year holiday. Some families unaware of the severity of the storms were trapped inside cars.
The country's Disaster Management Organization urged people to postpone travel plans and seek shelter if they were threatened by high water.
Severe weather bringing heavy rain and flooding started last week in the northern provinces of Mazandaran, Golestan, Semnan and North Khorassan and has gone on to affect 30 provinces. Officials said more than 56,000 people have been affected in various cities and rural areas in Golestan and Mazandaran since the start of the inclement weather.
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani asked the country's armed forces to do more to rescue people during an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday, state-owned PressTV reported. Officials issued flood alerts for 10 provinces in the west and southwest, including the oil and agriculture region of Khouzestan, Iranian energy minister Reza Ardakanian said.
The weather affected travel as well with at least 22 routes at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport being canceled because of the severe weather Monday.