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Earthquakes in Iran and the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction

Wednesday, October 13, marks the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. While many countries have been advancing in reducing or at least control natural disasters, the people of Iran under the mullahs’ regime have become mass casualties of natural disasters.

The International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction has been an opportunity for states to focus on their efforts and demonstrate competence by showing how much they have progressed in managing natural disasters and reducing casualties.

For example, last Thursday, Tokyo experienced a powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake. Videos on social media showed moments of this powerful earthquake, but reports indicate the earthquake only caused short power outages in Tokyo. On October 9, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked Iran’s Andika County. According to Iran’s state media, at least 11 villages have been destroyed, and dozen people have been injured.

Yet, Iran’s state media reported on Tuesday that the regime has so far failed to help locals in Andika in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran.

“Helping the earthquake-stricken areas of eastern Khuzestan is slowly progressing. Out of 600 villages in Andika, 330 villages have suffered heavy damages, and 30 villages have been destroyed by 80 to 90 percent,” wrote the state-run Vatan-e Emrooz on Tuesday.

“Many houses have been destroyed, and on the other hand, since roads are blocked, the process of providing relief to the residents of this area is difficult. The conditions of the earthquake victims in this province are unfavorable due to the destruction of houses made of stone and wood,” the daily added.

Iran has 6% of the world’s natural disaster casualties, while it has only 1% of the world’s population. According to the official IRNA News Agency on June 22, “The economic damage caused by natural disasters in Iran averages $5 billion annually.”

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There are several active major faults across Iran. Iran also sits on two major tectonic plates and is prone to frequent seismic activity.

“If an earthquake as powerful as the one in Kermanshah province happens in Tehran, 200,000 buildings will be totally destroyed and collapse. The collapse of this many buildings will definitely leave one million casualties, a real disaster indeed,” said Ali Beiollahi, the former director of Earthquake Research Department in the regime’s Ministry of Roads, Housing, and Urban Development in 2017.

In 2017 a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake rattled Kermanshah in northwest Iran. Over 600 people were killed, 70,000 people became homeless, and many were living in tents for over a year and a half. Yet, the regime’s former president Hassan Rouhani then bogusly claimed that “almost everybody” has returned to homes that were either rebuilt or fixed.

According to IRNA News Agency on November 27, 2018, many people still lack basic shelter, even though the city streets are full of rain and mud that has “penetrated the tents of the victims of the earthquake,” and that the residents are trying to negate the situation by “using plastic sheets and digging water channels.” Worse still, another 6.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded in November 2018 in Kermanshah, injuring more people, and destroying more houses.

Another 5.9 magnitudes rocked East Azerbaijan province in northwest Iran. Five people were killed, and at least 520 people were injured. Again, the regime delayed helping locals, and many people have not recovered from this earthquake even after two years.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI President-elect, urged people then to help the victims. “Mullahs’ regime is covering up damages in the 5.7 magnitude earthquake in West Azerbaijan. Over 100 villages were damaged. I request help for those affected, especially in Khoy and Salmas, and urge vigilance by fellow compatriots in the province about subsequent aftershocks,” she said.

Most earthquake fatalities and extensive property damage are the results of buildings that collapse. The regime could reduce the casualties by using modern building codes and progressive engineering methods. It could also reduce the risk by fortifying public infrastructure. Public infrastructure in Iran is highly vulnerable following decades of underinvestment. The so-called “Mehr Houses” rapidly collapsed during the earthquake in Kermanshah, and many people died under the debris.

The regime could have helped people if it had an effective provincial emergency response system. And finally, countries vulnerable to major earthquakes, like Iran, must invest in research to enhance their knowledge of the hazard, the potential impacts, and seismic safety. Investment in science and research will provide the knowledge to support effective actions by decision-makers.

Instead, the regime has been wasting the national wealth on terrorism and other malign activities. In 2019, the United States State Department estimated that Tehran gives $700 million a year just to the terrorist Hezbollah group in Lebanon.

According to a report from the US State Department, “Iran has been among Bashar al-Assad’s most reliable partners, extending almost $5 billion in lines of credit to the Syrian regime and pouring resources and military personnel into the region.”

Export of terrorism is an inseparable part of this regime as it needs to export chaos beyond Iran’s border to survive. Thus, it is futile to wait for the regime to control and reduce the natural disasters and their impacts.

On the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, the world community should know that Under the mullahs’ rule, every natural calamity and every preventable problem, from the COVID-19 to floods to earthquakes, turn into a major disaster. In other words, as long as the mullahs are in power in Iran, natural disasters would seriously damage the Iranian people’s lives.