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 Table of Contents  
CASE REPORT
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-27

Tehran thunderstorm: An unexpected success story


1 Department of Disaster and Emergency Health, National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences; Department of Disaster Public Health, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Disaster and Emergency Health, National Institute of Health Research; Department of Disaster Public Health, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
3 Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, Iranz

Date of Web Publication21-Mar-2017

Correspondence Address:
Ali Ardalan
Department of Disaster and Emergency Health, National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 78, Italia Ave., Tehran

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-9019.202656

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  Abstract 

On June 2, 2014, a local thunderstorm winds of speed as high as 118 km/h hit Tehran, capital of Iran. This thunderstorm plugged the city into darkness for hours, emotionally affected the citizens, and damaged properties. Based on Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization meteorological station, the temperatures suddenly dropped from 33.83 to 18.46 centigrade within 2 h and the air humidity elevated from 14.2% to 68.4%. This thunderstorm resulted in eight deaths, 81 injuries (63 male and 18 female and an estimated property damage of about $40 million at the official exchange rate.). More than half (58.5%) of the injuries were caused by multiple trauma. Shortly after thunderstorm stop, Tehran emergency operation and command center was mobilized for rapid assessment and emergency response to the event. One hundred electricity response teams, 15 search and rescue teams, and emergency medical and municipal teams were involved in response phase. After 6 h, about 24 response phases were accomplished and the city entered to recovery phase. This storm highlighted the challenges of need for harmonized individual and organized organizational participation, necessity for education of people through mass media and training all construction workers, and vulnerable parts of Tehran megacity during a disaster period.

Keywords: Iran, lessons, Tehran, thunderstorm


How to cite this article:
Ostadtaghizadeh A, Ardalan A, Jabbari H. Tehran thunderstorm: An unexpected success story. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2017;5:24-7

How to cite this URL:
Ostadtaghizadeh A, Ardalan A, Jabbari H. Tehran thunderstorm: An unexpected success story. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Dec 17];5:24-7. Available from: http://www.ijhsdm.org/text.asp?2017/5/1/24/202656


  Case Report and Discussion Top


On Monday afternoon June 2, 2014 at 17:30 local time (9:00 a.m. US EDT), an unexpected thunderstorm with gusty winds of speed as high as 118 km/h hit Tehran, the capital city of Iran.[1],[2] This thunderstorm plugged the city into darkness for hours, affected the citizens, and damaged properties [Figure 1].[3]
Figure 1: A long shot of Tehran's thunderstorm on Monday June 2, 2014

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Thunderstorms are kind of severe unstable weather with gusty, locally generated horizontal winds associated with lightning, thunder, often with rain, and sometimes with hail. Because of rapid changes in their velocity and directions, they could potentially damage villages or cities.[2] They occur usually in June in north hemisphere.[4] A similar incident occurred on Monday evening, June 9, 2014 in western Germany with guest winds of speed up to 150 km/h, thunder, lightning, heavy rains, and hails. The storm damaged trees, cars, roads, power and tram lines, and killed three people.[5] Previously, Tehran had experienced a similar event with a heavy rainfall occurred on April 2012 and caused a flash flood in Tehran metro system resulting about $21 million economic loss at the official exchange rate.[6]

According to meteorological station located in Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO) [Figure 2] and [Figure 3], the temperatures suddenly dropped from 33.83 centigrade at 16:10 to 18.46 at 18:10. In addition, the air humidity rose from 14.2% to 68.4% (54.2% changes). The wind speed suddenly increased at 17:00 and only during 20 min reached to 118 km/h.
Figure 2: Meteorological findings of Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization station related to Tehran's thunderstorm

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Figure 3: Diagram of wind speed, temperature, and humidity changes, Monday June 2, 2014, Tehran, Meteorological station of Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization

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This thunderstorm resulted in 8 death, 81 injury (63 male and 18 female) more than half (58.5%) were multiple trauma injuries. Other reported damages include 2961 fallen trees and numerous broken branches, more than 50,000 homes and businesses (1.25% of total electric customers) out of electricity, 13 toppled telecommunication towers, 128 car damages, and large amounts of fallen buildings materials [Table 1] and [Table 2].[7],[8] It is estimated that this disaster caused property damage of about $40 million at the official exchange rate.[7]
Table 1: Details of human impacts of Tehran's storm

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Table 2: Details of property impacts of Tehran's storm

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In addition, immediately after the thunderstorm was stopped, Tehran emergency operation and command center was organized and the mobilization of rapid assessment and emergency response teams started to manage the event. One hundred electricity response teams, 15 search and rescue teams, emergency medical teams, and municipal teams were involved in response phase. Finally, after 6 h, about 24 response phases were finished and the city entered to recovery phase.[7]

This thunderstorm highlighted the challenges in community and governmental preparedness as well as prevention and mitigation plans that could decrease human and properties impacts:

  • 87.5% of deaths and at least 77.5% of injuries occurred by fallen buildings material or fallen trees. Keeping furniture and equipment out of the buildings or roofs could explain part of this damage. Unsafe construction process could explain another part. Observation of health, safety, and environment rules could prevent from urban public risk including urban construction risk.[9],[10] Unfortunately, despite insurance of Health, Safety, and Environmental Management System in construction industry, it seems that this system is not well settled in Iran. Education of people through mass media and training construction workers (urban planners, architectures, civil engineers) regarding safety management and occupational risks and strengthening regulations in this regard will help improve situation [11],[12]
  • Review of pictures and movies showed that while the thunderstorm was blowing, the people were running and walking in streets and roads and the cars were moving. Since this kind of disaster was rare and unusual in Tehran, the people were not educated and prepared for disasters such as earthquake and storms.[13] This experience again emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive and all hazard approach in disaster public education and preparedness [14]
  • Collaboration and coordination among different correspondents are always one of the main concerns in disaster management.[15],[16] This storm also highlighted the challenges of harmonized individual and organizational participation in disaster risk management. In some areas, there were traffic jams for hours due to fallen trees or debris. Pictures showed that the citizens were waiting until the responders arrived and opened the ways. Although volunteer disaster response teams entitled “DAVAM group” have been organized in Tehran, we could not mobilize them in this disaster on time. This event emphasized that community-based disaster risk management approach and promotion of social responsibility is a necessity for disaster risk management [17],[18],[19],[20]


  • Like previous studies, this storm showed that the weather notification and early warning system in Iran need to be improved and clarified for responders as well.[21] The ministry of road and urban development officially declared that the storm was unpredictable because they had no appropriate forecasting equipment and software as well as early warning systems. This official report emphasizes that Iran's meteorological system needs to improve and use advanced nowcasting and early warning systems. In addition, this storm showed that the methodological notification and early warning system were unclear for other responsible organizations.[2] Iran's meteorological notification system has two levels including advisory and alert notification. In both advisory and alert notification issued by Iranian meteorological notification system, severe winds had been predicted for future days. In addition, the geographical areas that could be affected by the storm were not clear. Operational organizations expected more clear and on time information regarding on the level of each disaster and possible affected areas.[22] Advanced, clear, previously defined, and well-educated notification and early warning systems help the operational organizations act the best in response to disasters [23],[24],[25]

  • [Figure 4] shows distribution of losses caused by the storm in Tehran. Most of the losses are concentrated in the center of the city. It seems that downtown areas are more vulnerable to disasters such as earthquake and thunderstorm because they are highly populated areas with high rates of unsafe and nonresistant constructions.[26] Urban renewal and mitigation measures should be focused on central district of the city [27]
  • This thunderstorm highlighted absent or inefficient mechanisms of risk transfer and loss compensation in local governance levels despite the presence of a good legislative background at central level.[27],[28] Responding to this challenge, Tehran City Council issued an act to provide Disaster Recovery Fund. Based on this act, part of annual budget of Tehran municipality will be saved in a fund and allocated for compensating the property losses in possible future disasters. Moreover, the local authorities are obligated to insure citizens against disasters. Global experiences show that local innovations on disaster insurance are an effective way for disaster risk transfer.[29],[30]
Figure 4: Distribution of human and property losses caused by the Tehran's thunderstorm

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  Conclusion Top


Every disaster shows the failures of the management systems and provokes for new plans to reduce further risks. Both managers and community are expected to be prepared for, respond to, and recovery from all hazards. To make cities resilient to disaster, public education, community participation, inter-disciplinary collaboration, appropriate and strict rules and regulations for disaster risk reduction and management are essential strategies. Tehran thunderstorm, as a disaster case study, was the subject of this paper.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

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Islamic Republic of Iran Meteorological Organization. Analytic Report of Winds on Monday, Tehran; 2014. Available from: http://www.irimo.ir/services/news/276952-%DA%AF%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1% D8%B4-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%84%DB% 8C-%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%B9%D8%B5%D8%B1-% D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2-%D8%AF% D9%88%D8%B4%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%87-12-3-93.html. [Last cited on 2014 Jun 12].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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8.
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12.
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14.
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Hosseini KA, Hosseini M, Izadkhah YO, Mansouri B, Shaw T. Main challenges on community-based approaches in earthquake risk reduction: Case study of Tehran, Iran. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct 2014;8:114-24.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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20.
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21.
Omidvar B, Khodaei H. Using value engineering to optimize flood forecasting and flood warning systems: Golestan and Golabdare watersheds in Iran as case studies. Nat Hazards 2008;47:281-96.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
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23.
Cretikos MA, Merritt TD, Main K, Eastwood K, Winn L, Moran L, et al. Mitigating the health impacts of a natural disaster – The June 2007 long-weekend storm in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Med J Aust 2007;187:670-3.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
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26.
Hosseini KA, Hosseini M, Jafari MK, Hosseinioon S. Recognition of vulnerable urban fabrics in earthquake zones: A case study of the Tehran metropolitan area. J Seismology Earthq Eng 2009;10:175.  Back to cited text no. 26
    
27.
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28.
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29.
Miranda M, Vedenov DV. Innovations in agricultural and natural disaster insurance. Am J Agric Econ 2001;83:650-5.  Back to cited text no. 29
    
30.
Tsai CH, Chen CW. Development of a mechanism for typhoon-and flood-risk assessment and disaster management in the hotel industry – A case study of the Hualien area. Scand J Hosp Tour 2011;11:324-41.  Back to cited text no. 30
    


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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]
 
 
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