The city is close to the Alborz Mountains, near earthquake fault lines and near the dormant Damavand volcano, in a mass movement prone area. The city is divided into 22 districts, 123 regions and 375 neighborhoods.
Shocks and stresses
The city is exposed to earthquake, flood, drought, storm, mass movement and failure of buildings due to bad excavations and interactions with the groundwater, close to the surface. With the addition that Tehran is covered by 4 watershed areas with high amount of water coming from the near mountains. Even though Tehran is prone to flooding, the city has not experienced it a lot. Floods usually happen in spring after heavy rainfalls mostly through waterlogged streets. Earthquake remains the most harmful threat.
The most recurrent hazard is air pollution -due to traffic and industrial fuel-, drought and failure of buildings.
On the social dimension, informal settlements, the homeless -especially in winter-, and drug abuses are common concerns.
Capacity of action
The capacity of action is defined at 2 levels:
At national level, the National Disaster management Organization (Interior Ministry). At local level, the competences of
- Tehran municipality are divided in 2 organizations:
- Tehran Disaster management Headquarters, related to infrastructures supplies; – Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO).
The city owns a rapid assessment system put in place for rapid estimation of damages caused by earthquakes (Quick Damage and Loss Estimation system) based on seismic graphs.
In the surrounding mountains, there are Earthquake Early Warning System (EEWS) Stations. As well, in the coming years and in cooperation with JICA (JAPAN), a pilot project will develop an EWS for earthquakes to disconnect energy and gas supplies.
Every district has an emergency operation plan (EOP) and evacuation maps for each neighborhoods: when disaster hits, all citizens know where to go, which roads are safe for evacuation or which places are safe with a standing capacity for 72h.
The city has applied a communication strategy for its population focusing on public training and education. This community-based approach is implemented by TDMMO through the DAWAM program (Neighborhood Emergency Response Volunteers).
Power supply is mostly produced at hydroelectric plants. Main distribution is done by landlines, with 100% coverage at all time (except due to functional defects).
- The network providing gas supply is a new structure, smart, giving service to 100% population.
Water supply is an old network structure, issuing problems of leakage.
- Sanitation has poor treatment and used to have poor network coverage (30% sewage system in the region) but the wastewater network is now under expansion.
- The roads network (out of the city) are new and being reconstructed. The maintenance is private under national supervision. The highways are competences of the city.
- Located inside the city boundaries, the old Tehran Airport “Mehrabad”, is the terminal for national flights, and causes daily problems in noise and health issues. The airport has experienced different incidents including 3 air crashes with more than 80 casualties. The city has a 5 years plan for its relocation outside the city and the transformation of the area.
- The international airport “Imam Khomeini” is located 30 km southwest of the city.
- The old railway network is under reconstruction, managed by central government.
- To act against air pollution, the city is investing more than 30% of its total budget in its public transportation systems. There is a plan to develop 7 subway lines (5 existing at the moment.
- Moreover, the city has a plan to move all industrial facilities out of the urban pattern to the periphery. There are many cultural facilities within the city, some are historical buildings, part of heritage and not safe, some are modern and safe, but the city is concerned about safety and different EOP are under development.
- In the educational side, the city has 50 major universities that developed EOP for their buildings. Up to 2025, there is a plan to renew all schools (around 4000), as most of them are unsafe buildings prone to earthquake.
- The biggest national sport facility is located in Tehran.
- Regarding Health facilities, the city has more than 200 hospitals and clinics, offering all kind of services, and covering 100% population. Every hospital has its own EOP. However, less than 55% are safe and less than 20% are earthquake safe (for a value higher than 6,5 in Richter scale)
Priorities for the city
Disaster management regulation of Iran is currently under revision at the Iran Parliament, which is an opportunity for the city. Other priorities are:
- Create wastewater treatment plants.
- Strengthening and renewing the old pattern of the city.
- Expanding public transportation systems of Tehran.
- Decrease the air pollution through usage of renewable energies.
- Implementation of the Tehran Disaster Resilience Center (TDRC launched in early April 2015). Implementation of the 5 years Tehran Plan (2014-2018).
- Implement a comprehensive master plan for flooding management: implemented by all stakeholders regarding climate change.