On-site report from Dr. Ashkan Taghipour, Managing Director of Nikgaman Jamshid, MAP’s sister NGO in Iran
“We are currently stationed in Sare-Pol-Zahab. We have visited the villages along the route from Kermanshah to Sare-Pol-Zahab as well as the Ghasr-Shirin area and a part of Gilangharb.
Everyone here is giving 200% of themselves. The Welfare Office like the majority of other buildings in this town has been destroyed. We are camping out in the Welfare Office’s yard.
Sare-Pol-Zahab and its young population of 90,000 people is now a town with uninhabitable housing! The town buildings are either destroyed by the 7.4 magnitude earthquake or are unfit to live in. The constant aftershocks are also causing further damage and fear.
People are living in makeshift tents on the streets. Supplies by private donors, aid agencies, Welfare Dept. and the Red Crescent are being distributed despite the worsening weather conditions and extensive infrastructure damages. There is also aid provided by governmental and non-governmental agencies. But, the damages caused by the earthquake are so severe that even the best crisis management plans require time, while the people need help day in and day out.
The victims need temporary living quarters, restrooms and bathrooms, health clinics, mobile physiotherapy units for the handicapped and injured, makeshift schools, stationery, mental health therapy, makeshift child care centers etc.
Much to their disadvantage, the cold and rainy season has begun and the people of this town as well as those of 1,500 smaller towns and villages need tents, warm clothing, heaters, blankets, ropes, heavy duty plastic bags, food, and personal care products on a daily basis for at least the next five months.
Consumer products/supplies is arriving but the need is great, especially since the harsh winter is ahead (temperatures drop here to -20 °F in January).
Garbage collection and disposal, and sanitary issues are being handled by the residents and authorities, but with people’s present state of mind and health and the weather conditions this has been a bigger challenge each passing day.
The town security is being looked after by the police and army. This week, in addition to carrying out immediate disaster relief, we have gathered information with respect to the intermediate phase of disaster relief, i.e. locations of and priorities for conexes, items most needed for the areas effected by the earthquake.
The findings will be based on our own on-site observations, consultations with social workers from the Welfare Office and other aid agencies, as well as city and village councils.
With such tragedy at hand, there should be no limits to the help which one can offer to these victims, young and old. Our fellow country men and women are in great sorrow and need, the children, the very poor children they are hit the hardest.
We all need to come forward, take action, so that, again, we can rebuild this area, together we can rebuild Kermanshah, this bedrock of Western Iran.
There will be other needs of which I will inform MAP in my next reports. Thank you for all your support.”
Thank you for all your kind support, we will continue to keep you updated.
MAP holds an OFAC License and has been working in Iran since 2010. 100% of donations collected from this campaign will go toward earthquake relief and reconstruction. Our staffing and other expenses in Iran are funded by MAP’s General Funds.