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Iranian Regime Attempts to Downplay Earthquake Disaster as Thousands Suffer

Friday, November 24, 2017 2:28
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For the Iranian people who lived through the natural disaster caused by the recent earthquake, the political squabbling between factions of the regime is not solving their basic problems. These problems include shelter, heat, food, water, and medical attention. The regime, which has declined any assistance from the international community, claims that supplies have been delivered and the situation is under control. But the reality on the ground is far different.

People have been told to stay out of the buildings in the area, due in part to the aftershocks, which threaten already compromised structures. Additionally, those people who lived in government built housing are calling out the regime for shoddy construction work, noting that privately built complexes within the area have withstood the earthquake better.

The Mehr complex of apartments is the focus of this anger, as people were buried alive under the rubble from the buildings’ collapse. This complex was part of a building project by former Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s administration.

Throughout the region affected by the earthquake, which hit near the Iraq-Iran border, there is a lack of power and water. Supply lines have been destroyed from the damage, but little is being done to address these issues. Massive rebuilding efforts will be needed in this area, where many poor Iranians live. Yet, according to the regime, all is fine, and people are receiving everything that they need.

The regime’s rebuilding plan is a series of loans to the people who lost their homes, but the money will not even cover the rebuilding costs, while the Iranian people must pay a high interest rate to borrow funds from their own government.

Many villages still have no tents, food, water, and electricity. The regime is known for stealing from its people, but these actions demonstrate the lack of concern the mullahs have for Iranians, who they routinely oppress, torture, and sentence to prison for exercising their basic rights.

“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.

In a series of farce measures, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other repressive forces attempted to portray the situation 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 doors, providing no services. When people rushed to the area, they saw no one was there to address their needs.

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.

Another MP, Abbas Goodarzi noted that the regime hadn’t improved its quality of service and crisis management systems, despite previous earthquakes that demonstrated the weaknesses in their systems. Temporary and emergency accommodations were not being provided and the people had little to use to get themselves back on their feet. Many lost everything, including family members, in the earthquake.

Yet despite this, the Iranian regime has used state forces to keep people out of the region and to cloak the damage, casualties, and financial loss. Local authorities have noted that many of the dead were buried before being registered, which makes the death toll appear to be much less than it really is.

Various villagers have noted that dead are still being removed from the rubble, noting that the 500 casualties figure is woefully inaccurate. However, the regime is also making it difficult for those trying to get aid, by asking for documentation that may now be buried in the rubble of their homes.

One of the quake hit protesters said, “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?”

The country has been subject to numerous huge earthquakes in the past. Over 26,000 people were killed in an earthquake in 2003 in Bam in the south-east of the country. In 1990, more than 50,000 people died in Rudbar when a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the north-western part of the country. But no polices have been put in place to address the potential disasters. Instead, the Iranian regime continues to put itself first, and its people last yet again.

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