DUBAI: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved drawing up to US$2 billion (RM8.2 billion) from the country’s sovereign wealth fund for relief and reconstruction after devastating floods, state media reported today. Yesterday, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said the weeks of heavy rain across the country had caused an estimated US$2.5 billion in damage to roads, bridges, homes and farmland. Iran’s worst floods in 70 years had killed at least 76 people and forced more than 220,000 into emergency shelters, state media cited ministers as telling lawmakers. “Using the National Development Fund is authorised if no other sources are available,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani read out today on state television. However, he urged the government to explore other budgetary measures to fund the relief efforts before tapping the sovereign fund. In Geneva, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said today an estimated two million people needed humanitarian assistance as a result of the floods. It had launched an international emergency appeal seeking 5.1 million Swiss francs to expand support by Iran’s Red Crescent to an additional 30,000 families — equivalent to about 150,000 people. Khamenei’s letter did… Read full this story
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