Why Iran's Earthquakes Are So Devastating

11/14/2017 8:45:01 AM

An Iranian woman grieving the death of a child after the recent quake.

An Iranian woman grieving the death of a child after the recent quake.

Heshmat Alavi

 

Forbes, November 14, 2017 - In this day and age we are witnessing random earthquakes here and there across the globe. Iran lies on several tectonic plates, and the Iranian people suffer extreme conditions after each earthquake.

The reaction shown to each earthquake by the ruling regime in Iran is far different from its counterparts across the globe. Media censorship, excruciating delay in sending even minimum support and imposing a tight security atmosphere to quell any possible sign of unrest is Tehran’s response to such natural disasters.

Sunday evening a 7.3 magnitude quake shook many provinces along the Iran-Iraq border, leaving at least 470 people killed and 7,150 injured, according to the Iranian regime’s own Forensics Organization. Tens of thousands of homes and apartments have been leveled to the ground.

 

More scenes of vast destruction following Iran
More scenes of vast destruction following Iran's recent quake.

 

Casualty statistics are beyond those reported by the media, according to the semi-official ILNA news agency quoting Farhad Tajari, a member of Iran’s parliament from Ghasr Shireen, a town in western Iran that suffered enormous damage.

152 aftershocks continued to wreak havoc in the first 24 hours after the initial quake. 526 villages and 137,000 people in Iran’s Kermanshah province are facing grave danger.

 

 

The town devastated the most is Sarpol Zahab, located close to the Iraqi border. Authorities have reported the quake has changed the entire image of this already poor town with the buildings destroyed. There is still no report from many villages and Iranian regime officials failing to take any proper action.

 

 

State-run Mehr Housing complexes in Kermanshah after the quake.

State-run Mehr Housing complexes in Kermanshah after the quake.

 

Head of the state Public Relations Office in Kermanshah said 50% of the province’s schools have suffered serious damage, reports show.

“My entire family of 20 people, including 15 kids, are all sitting in our cars,” said Nosser in Sarpol Zahab to ILNA. “Our fuel is very low. They haven’t provided any tents or kerosene. We are freezing from the cold. There is no food.”

Reports on YouTube from this town describe the dire conditions.

 

 

“The weather is not good and people need to sleep in tents because of the aftershocks. But I don’t know why there is no sign of the Red Crescent,” Akbar Akbari said.

Reports show around 90% of residential homes in the town of Thalath Baba Jani have suffered 50 to 100% destruction. With 161 villages in this region, around 70% of the village homes have been destroyed, Akbari added.

Hospitals across western Iran are reportedly unable to provide care to the extremely high number of casualties and there is also a major shortage of ambulances.

 

 

Iran dispatched 800 ambulances for a religious march, yet lacks ambulances following the recent earthquake.
Iran dispatched 800 ambulances for a religious march, yet lacks ambulances following the recent earthquake
.

 

A building in the town of Javanrood, Kermanshah province, western Iran.

A building in the town of Javanrood, Kermanshah province, western Iran.

 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his grief after the quake and called for urgent action to provide care for the earthquake victims.

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi sent her deepest condolences to her compatriots and asking especially the local youth to “rush to the aide of people in the quake-stricken areas and help those trapped under the wreckage.”

Iran has a history of devastating earthquakes and the regime failing to provide the necessary care.

On June 21st, 1990, an earthquake near the Caspian Sea in northern Iran left more than 50,000 killed and another 135,000 injured. The 7.7 Richter tremor destroyed tens of thousands of constructed houses in the area.

 

 Iranian residents walk among the rubble of destroyed houses in a village after the quakes.

Iranian residents walk among the rubble of destroyed houses in a village after the quakes.

 

A December 2003 quake literally levelled the city of Bam in Kerman province of south-central Iran, killing tens of thousands of people. The Iranian regime said 31,000 perished while the opposition challenged such claims by reporting a heartbreaking toll of 70,000 people dying. This consisted of more than half of Bam’s population.

The international community and the Gulf States provided Iran with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and dispatched dozens of relief teams. Reports, however, indicated Iran’s state forces plundering much of the aid, and dispatching thousands of boots to the area to prevent any possible protest.

 

 

A section of the city of Bam after the quake.
A section of the city of Bam after the quake.

 

In August of 2012 a double 6.2 and 6.0 Richter earthquake struck the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan, leaving more than 3,300 people killed and injured. Reports at the time showed security forces even arresting youth trying to provide aid to the earthquake victims. Authorities in Iran go the distance to prevent any reports of the true devastation reaching the media.

 

 

An Iranian resident from the village of Baje-Baj, near the town of Varzaqan
An Iranian resident from the village of Baje-Baj, near the town of Varzaqan.

 

A week prior to that the nuclear power plant city of Bushehr in southern Iran was shaken by a quake that left at least 30 killed and reminded the entire region of another dangerous aspect of Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Speaking of major threats, the 15 million population of Iran’s capital, Tehran, is also a prime target for devastating earthquake damage.

This major metropolitan city “is only ten percent prepared for a possible earthquake,” according to remarks  made by the Iranian regime’s own Crisis Management Organization chief. More than 80% of the country is prone to natural disasters, he added.

Interesting is how the Iranian regime allocates billions of dollars for its nuclear and ballistic missile program, the domestic crackdown entities and dispatching militias and weaponry to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, yet fails to provide basic needs to earthquake victims, let alone reinforce buildings to withstand such disasters.

 

 

 

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province

 

I am a political/rights activist focusing on Iran & the Middle East. I also write in Al Arabiya English, and contributed to The Federalist, The Hill and Raddington Report.