About 300 hectares of new desert has formed around Lake Urmia as a result of the lake’s rapid drying, and the resulting salt storms have become a serious threat to people living in the region. Forestry authorities say at least 10 percent of these deserts must be immediately replenished.

The Mehr News Agency reports that forestry officials say a budget of 120 billion toumans is needed to prevent the desertification of about 34,000 hectares of land, yet the government has failed to provided the money so far. The planting of resistant vegetation in the region is one of the chief means of preventing the spread of desertification, the report adds.

Lake Urmia, Iran’s largest inland lake, has been drying out rapidly in recent years, and the government has established a task force to tackle the problem and come up with practical solutions to save the lake.