A 6.3 magnitude Earth-quake hit Western Iran- in the same area that it hit last year, leaving over 600 injured and killed and many still missing
As Iran passed the one-year anniversary of its devastating earthquake, many survivors are still struggling to put their lives back together.
The earthquake-ravaged Iran’s Western provinces, killing more than 600 people, leaving more than 100,000 families without shelter, and extensively damaging more than 1,930 villages. Among the worst affected were the cities of Qasr-e Shirin, Salas-e Babajani, and Sarpol-e Zahab.
One Year on and Survivors Continue to Struggle
MEK sources inside Iran report, many of the survivors that saw their homes reduced to rubble are still without shelter one year on from the disaster. The authorities have been unable to provide them with accommodation and some are forced to set up makeshift camps in cemeteries.
One young woman told Iran’s state-run media, “I am sick and tired of this life. Twice, I attempted to commit suicide to get rid of this life. I wish I could die and be relieved of so much pain”.
The woman is tending to her sick child, whose life-saving treatment costs 150,000 toumans a day. She says, “I cannot do anything. I am sick, myself”.
Another 60-year-old woman spoke about how she is forced to live in a cemetery despite having open-heart surgery less than one year ago. “There is not even a drop of warm water so that we can bathe”, she said, adding, “we have received no aid from the government. Nothing!”
Sarpol-e Zahab’s City Council Chairman criticized President Hassan Rouhani for the government’s inaction over the desperate situation.
“The mental situation of the citizens is very troubling. Hygiene and sanitation are very inadequate, and the municipality hasn’t yet given us any money to do something. I wish the Ministry of Interior would say what services they’ve provided for a city like Sarpol-e Zahab”, he said.
In some extreme cases, reports have emerged of Iranian citizens selling kidneys to pay for the reconstruction of their homes.
Winter is Coming
With winter fast approaching, nobody wants to spend the cold months living in makeshift shelters. But the government’s efforts have been utterly inadequate.
Contractors employed to rebuild the affected areas have abandoned their projects after receiving no payment. Citizens are not even able to receive access to loans from banks to rebuild their properties. The government promised loans to help the victims rebuild their properties, but they never materialized.
Agencies that pledged to stand with Iran’s affected citizens soon left the areas, having achieved little, and abandoning many to their fate.
The Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) refuse to abandon the desperate citizens. The president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi issued a statement this week calling on Iran’s public to stand with those affected.
It read, “rush to the aid of our afflicted compatriots struck by [the] earthquake”. She mentioned Sarpol-e Zahab by name, imploring the Iranian youth to do all they could to assist those struggling.