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Iran: Authorities issue ultimatum for earthquake victims to evacuate

Many deprived survivors of the 2017 earthquake in Sarpol Zahab of Kermanshah province are still living in trailers and makeshift homes
Many deprived survivors of the 2017 earthquake in Sarpol Zahab of Kermanshah province are still living in trailers and makeshift homes

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, July 22, 2020—Municipality authorities in the town of Sarpol Zahab of Kermanshah province in western Iran have issued an ultimatum ordering survivors of the November 2017 earthquake to evacuate their trailers and makeshift homes in the next 48 hours.

The residents of these small homes have been living in such conditions for nearly three years now after the horrific November 2017 earthquake leveled their town and completely ruined their lives. “We have no place to go and we can’t afford the cost of a new home or apartment. If the municipality forces us to evacuate these trailers, we have no choice but to start living in tents,” one local said.

 

 

“Installing trailers and erecting tents in city jurisdictions are against the law. This will also disrupt the peace and tranquility of others living these particular areas who have filed protests in this regard,” said the Sarpol Zahab Mayor Saber Heydari in an interview with the state-run Mehr website.

“As a result of this ultimatum it is necessary that these residents take action and transfer their trailers and tents outside of the city limits within the next 48 hours. Otherwise, we will take action according to the law,” he threatened.

These residents are complaining about their deprived living conditions. They are extremely poor, and poverty has forced them to live in trailers and tents very close to where people are commuting on a daily basis. If they were able to pay apartment rents or housing mortgages, they would not live in such conditions for a single day, many of these residents say.

The regime’s authorities, who have been plundering the locals for decades, promised three years ago to provide land for those who lost everything in the November 2017 earthquake to restart their lives. However, no action has been taken to this day.

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In November 2017, Iran’s Kermanshah province was hit by a devastating earthquake, which left hundreds dead, thousands injured. The earthquake also left tens of thousands of people without home and shelter. More than a year after the disaster, the people of Kermanshah are still reeling in its aftermath due to the Iranian regime’s corrupt policies and its mismanagement of the country’s most vital needs.

One Iranian resistance unit has traveled to Sarpol-e Zahab and filmed a report on the conditions of the citizens of this small city, which was located in one of the areas that were hardest hit by the earthquake.

“As you can see, more than a year after the disastrous earthquake of Kermanshah, the people of Sarpol-e Zahab are still living in tents and makeshift trailers and are deprived of their most basic needs,” the reporting resistance unit member says. “Regime officials and authorities don’t respond to the the needs of the people. What should we do?”

Another video shows houses that, despite the passage of 13 months, are still empty scaffoldings. “This is the Fouladi section of Sarpol-e Zahab. These houses have been abandoned in this state because of the lack of funding,” the reporter says. The government has refrained from sending relief efforts and engage in construction projects to rebuild the destroyed city. Many of the homes have not progressed any further than empty scaffolds, because their owners can’t afford to pay for the construction of their homes and the regime is doing nothing to help them.

The video further shows an old lady sitting on a chair, with a sad, empty stair. “This women has suffered from a stroke. She has no income. She needs help,” the voice says.

In another part of the city, the people are living in the Ahmad bin Ishaq cemetery out of desperation and lack of access to proper housing facilities. Videos show tents erected amidst the graves and the people of the city living in harsh conditions.

“Every second of silence will achieve nothing but death and destruction not only for ourselves but also for our future generations,” the brave member of the resistance unit says. “Sooner or later, the future generations will ask us, ‘What did you do?’”

The resistance unit member calls on fellow Iranians to help out those who are in need.