Earthquake in Iran – No. 4
A week after the deadly earthquake in Iran’s western regions, people are still lacking even minimum supplies. Many villages still have no tents, food, water and electricity. The Iranian regime, known for stealing and plundering the people, has left the quake-stricken residents in the winter cold under the rubbles. This has resulted in increasing public hatred.
A helicopter pilot in Fort Abuzar of Sarpol-e Zahab said the following about what he witnessed flying over the earthquake stricken region: “We saw many scenes… different from what you are seeing on [state TV]… the catastrophe we witnessed is far worse and expanded than what is shown on [state TV] or on the internet. What I’m witnessing is people providing aid, and state relief efforts are very weak.”
On Friday, November 17, people in the town of Gilan-e Qarb, also suffering from the quake, rallied outside the governorate office protesting against the lack of tents and basic necessities. They immediately began protesting and expressing their outrage once they saw a state TV reporter who was on the scene for propaganda purposes.
In a series of farce measures, members of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other repressive forces attempted to portray as if the necessary aid is being provided to the earthquake victims. For example, the IRGC announced a 60-bed field hospital has been set up in Sarpol-e Zahab, showing the facility with a few IRGC members and a cleric. However, after taking the necessary footage, they shut the door, and when people rushed to the area they saw no one there.
In the meantime, the Iranian regime is placing all its efforts to cloak the scope of the actual damage, number of casualties and the financial loss. State forces have been stationed in the entrances of all earthquake-stricken cities and towns. The number of people killed or wounded is far higher than what is reported. Local authorities are reporting most of those killed were buried before being officially registered. In many villages most of the residents have been killed. Their bodies have remained unburied and the threat of illnesses spreading in this area is very high.
Furthermore, even minimum hygiene measures, such as gathering dead animal corpses and garbage, have not been carried out in the earthquake stricken areas. Much of the sewage system has been destroyed and there is a possibility of cholera and other illnesses spreading. According to local authorities, 30 percent of the livestock has been killed. Many of these animals died in the days following the quake due to lack of water.
“The most important necessity right now is tents. Unfortunately, a large number of the tents being sent faced obstacles on the way… relief aid for the villages is very weak and this inability is resulting from the inappropriate distribution of the assets,” said Iranian MP Farhad Tajari. Abbas Goodarzi, another regime's Member of Parliament who traveled to earthquake areas, told the Mehr News Agency: “The situation we saw in the affected areas in the west of the country was similar to what we had seen in 2006 earthquake of Boroujerd and a similar situation in 2003 Bam earthquake had also been observed .... This indicates that the quality of service and crisis management has not grown and the previous plannings are not such that it would be desirable to provide services in critical situations. Referring to the distribution of tents and blankets, he said that there was a serious issue so that still there are issues not only with "temporary accommodation" but also with "emergency accommodation".
Video clips from quake hit areas show horrible scenes. A young man cries out: They receive the aids and sell them. If there is a law, they should execute them, not that I have to shiver in the streets with my wife and small baby.
A man from the village of Aliabad says that contrary to the media reports that the IRGC, the army and the police have come to help, no organization has come to this end. Only the people of other cities of Paveh, Sanandaj, Marivan, Ilam and surrounding areas have come to aid. It is all lip service. Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Quds Force.
Another man impatiently cried out: More must be done. My wife and children died in the earthquake. TV says 300 people died. But more than 3,000 people died. Where are you bastards? Why did you hide yourself? Go kill yourself. Don’t call yourself a boss. This old man, whom 20 of his family died, does not have a tent.
Another man in front of destroyed buildings says: "4,000 people died, why they say 400? What is the reason? The dead are much more than that. They are still taking [corpses] that are buried under the rubble. Why are they lying? Only Mehr housing has had over 500 dead.
One of the quake hit protesters says: "All our belongings are under rubble and now we are asked to provide birth certificates and national ID cards to receive items and facilities! All sheep and livestock are gone, where the hell I get a document out of this rubble?
Standing beside his destroyed home another man tells reporters: “we got my dead son who was under the rubbles out after seven to eight hours, with difficulty. I went then to the governor’s office, if he had help a few hours earlier and we could act faster, he was alive now. My son was 16 years old. He is strangled. We have no one here, no governors, no representatives, and no owners. If it were an Arab country, they would have been saved the same moment. What are the Arab countries for? People in the scene say the governor ran away.
An earthquake-stricken man says: "Not one official has come to ask how people are doing. I've lost my two children and I've been destroyed. It has been four days that my wife and children do not have a tent. The governor came and did nothing for us.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 18, 2017