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Iran: Emergency Response as Heavy Snow Causes Disruptions

Iran: Emergency Response as Heavy Snow Causes DisruptionsIran: Emergency Response as Heavy Snow Causes Disruptions

The Iranian government took a number of emergency measures after massive snowstorm hit vast parts of the country for the second day in a row on Sunday, snarling train services, shutting schools, and forcing the cancellation of scores of flights.

A thick blanket of snow covered the capital Tehran, and heavy falls were reported in at least 17 other provinces over the past two days.

First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri on Sunday called on the minister of roads and urban development and the Tehran mayor as well as the governors general of Alborz and Qom provinces neighboring the capital to mobilize all available forces and resources to deal with the situation.

The officials presented reports on the steps taken to open the roads blocked by snow and other related measures to the vice president, IRNA reported.

The National Iranian Gas Company said there has been no disruption in gas supplies despite the surge in demand.

The snow which delighted many Iranians, especially the ski community, left a large number of motorists stranded in their vehicles for hours, and poor visibility forced the capital's Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad airports to close temporarily.

 Schools were shut in several parts of the country on Sunday and many offices delayed their opening times. All schools and universities in Tehran will be closed on Monday.

Apology to Citizens 

Tehran's Governor General Mohammad Hossein Moqimi said on Sunday that all main roads leading to Tehran Province have been opened and apologized to citizens for any inconvenience caused.

He also advised people to avoid unnecessary travel and stay indoors as much as possible.

Around 2,000 cars blocked on highways out of the capital were rescued by the Iranian Red Crescent Society teams, and Tehran Municipality provided accommodation for about 3,500 homeless people.

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi said 1,200 snow-clearing vehicles and 2,000 workers have been providing services since Saturday night.

"So far, there have been no issues other than traffic disruption, which is partly natural and partly due to our lack of resources," ISNA quoted him as saying on Sunday.

Blood Donation

Citizens across Iran, especially in Tehran as well as western and central parts of the country, have been asked to donate blood as the number of blood donors had decreased as a result of the freezing weather.

According to forecasts, more wintry weather is on the way, with temperatures dropping to as low as -20C in some provinces.

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