Khuzestan Governor Claims Flood Victims Are Receiving Too Much Aid
The governor of flood-ravaged Khuzestan Province once again sparked outrage for his controversial remarks in the wake of the deadly floods that swept through 25 out of 31 provinces last month.
Hamidiyeh, Khuzestan Province, southwest #Iran
Locals are happy after successfully repairing a flood barrier protecting their homes & farms from rising waters of Karkheh River.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) April 8, 2019
In an interview on Iran’s state-run television, Gholamreza Shariati described the recent visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
“During their visits, the International Red Cross protested that our flood aid was too much and outside of their protocols… and that we should not have given so much aid,” Shariati said!
The governor was asked what constituted too much aid, and he claimed that the ICRC complained to the head of the Red Crescent about “facilities and things that were given in the official camps.”
Lack of Emergency Aid
In the days after the floods, survivors in the hardest-hit areas waited days to receive tents. Residents in villages that were surrounded by floodwaters were stranded without food, water, or emergency aid for days while regime officials denied the severity of the disaster and minimized the extent of casualties.
April 7 – Near Shush, Khuzestan Province, southwest #Iran
Locals striving to prevent floodwaters from engulfing their village.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) April 7, 2019
Regime officials who visited flood-stricken areas for photo ops were greeted by angry protests from disaster victims who demanded explanations for why they had been abandoned by the government.
Khuzestan’s governor generated controversy during the floods during one such visit to a flood-stricken region. A video shared on social media showed an elderly man asking Shariati why the regime continued to give aid to Syria while denying emergency aid to its own people.
“Don’t be so irrelevant! You’re insolent and anti-government! Get lost!” Shariati angrily retorted before going on to threaten the flood victim.
According to the United Nations Office on the Situation in Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran spends an average of $6 billion a year in Syria. This comprises approximately half of the total amount budgeted for subsidies in Iran.
April 24 – Khuzestan Province, southwest #Iran
Man says they have lost everything in the recent floods.
Locals are constantly complaining of not receiving any state aid.#IranFloods pic.twitter.com/keFtjC9kWl
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) April 24, 2019
The people of Iran have expressed anger at the regime’s continued funding of Bashar al Assad’s war in Syria while 80 percent of the population of Iran lives below the poverty line.
Continuing Impact of the Floods
Meanwhile, the regime has still taken few concrete steps to address the flood recovery effort. Millions of Iranians have been affected by the disaster, either through direct damage or destruction of their homes and towns, loss of employment and infrastructure, or both. Regime officials have refused to provide unemployment assistance to those who lost jobs because of the floods unless they had pre-existing unemployment coverage. Because of the economic crisis gripping the country and the regime’s anti-labor policies, many of the factory and industrial workers who are now unemployed did not have this coverage due to their forced status as contract workers.
I urge the freedom-loving youths and members of resistance units and councils to not lose any opportunity in helping the flood-hit families. Help the people organize their popular councils which is the only solution for prevailing over this devastating flood.#Iran#IranFlood pic.twitter.com/lrwTjnPB5Y
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 27, 2019
The MEK has taken a strong stance in opposition to the regime’s anti-labor policies and its heartless response to the national disaster faced by the Iranian people. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, leader of the Iranian opposition, has urged the people of Iran to form resistance councils and to “rush to the aid” of those affected by the floods.