5 August 2022
The Imamzadeh Dawood mudflow disaster in Iran
Over the last week Iran has suffered from a series of extreme rainfall events, with catastrophic impacts. Iran Wire reports that at least 90 people have been killed, but there is extensive speculation that the losses may be considerably higher. As is often the case in countries like Iran, there is a lack of clarity as to the true effects. The Red Crescent reports 69 confirmed fatalities and 45 people missing.
One of the most significant events occurred at Imamzadeh Dawood (also spelt Imamzadeh Davood, Emamzadeh Davod and various similar combinations), a religious centre located in the mountains in Sulqan Rural District, Kan District of Tehran County. The location is 35.877, 51.338.
There is little doubt that a very substantial mudflow occurred there on 27 July 2022. EIN News reports that at least 22 people were killed, although the figures differ in other sources. There is a harrowing video of the mudflow at Imamzadeh Dawood on Youtube, which you should be able to view below:-
A high death toll would be consistent with the impact of events of this type in similar locations.
There is a gallery of images of the aftermath of the mudflow on the Shafaqna News website. This includes the image below, which shows the magnitude of the impacts:-
The image below is a Planet Labs PlanetScope image of Imamzadeh Dawood, captured yesterday:-
Imamzadeh Dawood is in the southwest corner of the image, the channel flows from the northeast to the southwest. The image shows extensive change in the channel, marking the track of the mudflow. It appears that the debris has been sourced from the slopes and the channel in the catchment. There is extensive evidence of erosion on the hillslopes and erosion of the riverbed.
It will be interesting to see whether clearer information emerges about the magnitude of the impact of these disasters across Iran.
Planet Team (2022). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://www.planet.com/