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Floods in Iran kill 21 and injure dozens more

Emergency services spokesperson warns that more heavy rains are expected in the Islamic Republic as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic
An Iranian youth standing in front of a flooded area in a village in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan region, January 2020 (AFP)

Flooding in Iran caused by heavy rainfall has left 21 people dead and one missing, an emergency services spokesman said on Wednesday, as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

In pictures: Devastating floods in Iran
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Mojtaba Khaledi told Iran's ISNA news agency that 22 people have also been injured, with most of the casualties in southern or central provinces.

He said 11 people died in Fars province, three in Hormozgan and Qom each, two in Sistan and Baluchistan province, and one each in Bushehr and Khuzestan. Khaledi said one person was still missing Hormozgan on the Gulf coast.

Flooding last week also killed 12 people, and Khaledi warned of more heavy rain to come.

Iran is battling one of the deadliest coronavirus outbreaks in the world, with 3,036 deaths and 47,593 infections.

In March and April last year, heavy rainfall and flooding killed at least 76 people in Iran.

At the time, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimated that 10 million people were affected, describing the floods as "the largest disaster to hit Iran in more than 15 years".