April 7 (UPI) -- Seventy people have died in 13 Iranian provinces in flooding from heavy rainfall, according to the head of Iran's Coroner's Office.
Ahmad Shojaei said Saturday that the southern province of Fars had the highest death toll at 21, followed by the western province of Lorestan with 15, according to the semi-official Mehr News agency. He said the deaths include accidents connected to the floods.
Since March 19, 1,900 cities and villages across Iran have flooded and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to water and agriculture infrastructures,according to another report by the news agency.
More than 140 rivers have burst their banks and 409 landslides have been reported in the country. Also, 78 roads have been blocked and 84 bridges affected.
Flooding might affect about 400,000 people in Khuzestan out of more than 4.7 million residents of the province, according to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli in a CNN report.
A dozen helicopters were dispatched last week to flooded area around Lorenstan to assess damage and rescue trapped people who'd become trapped.
"Red Crescent volunteers and staff have evacuated hundreds of people to safety, and have distributed food and items such as tents, blankets and health kits to tens of thousands of people," the organization's Middle East and North Africa director, Sayed Hashem, said in a news release Wednesday.
But Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter, said the U.S. sanctions are "economic terrorism" and U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have "tried to obstruct efforts by expatriate Iranians to make donations to the accounts of the Iranian Red Crescent."
He said: "The great people of Iran will, with unity, empathy and with their coordinated efforts alongside their government, armed forces, and all public, non-governmental and private organizations, and with the help of God, soon not only prevail over the impact of the recent national disaster -- building a better future using lessons learned to avoid repetition of catastrophes that have hit the lives and livelihoods of our cherishes citizens -- but also overcome the illegal sanctions and vanquish the economic terrorism of the United States, all while registering the malign U.S. behavior in their collective historical memory."
Two days earlier, Pompeo extended condolences to the victims of the flooding in Iran but blamed its government for the disaster.
"These floods once again show the level of Iranian regime mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness," he said in a statement. "The regime blames outside entities when, in fact, it is their mismanagement that has led to this disaster. 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."
The foreign minister responded by taking a shot at the U.S. relief efforts from hurricanes Harvey, Michael and Florence and Maria.
"It seems the U.S. Secretary of State is unaware of the mismanagement of natural disasters in the U.S. over the past two years, and hence opines -- in an unprofessional, interventionist and demagogic manner -- on Iran's management of the horrific and unprecedented floods which simultaneously afflicted 24 provinces," Zarif said.
Other nations have pledged help.
Michael Klor Berchtold, who is Germany's ambassador in Iran, said that his country will provide Iranian flood-stricken people with humanitarian aids, including 40 boats.
Also, the British Red Cross plans to supply aid and Turkey deployed supplies.