Wednesday night, February 17, 2021 an earthquake that measured 5.6 on the Richter scale shook the city of ‘Sisakhat in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province of Iran. According to the state-run daily Shargh: “In addition to natural faults and the harms that gave people, it makes the gap between the existing structure and the needs of the people more visible.” (Shargh, February 17)
Local officials and the state TV attempted to minimize the damage to the people, while the earthquake caused extensive damages.
The declaration of “limited losses” by the local state TV channel in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad led to anger and dissatisfaction of the people, because there were more damages that government officials announced, and of course the relief operation to the people was very minimal.
Except the state TV and the local authorities, other media announced the destruction of 80 percent of the city’s homes and some villages in Dana.
Ismail Najar, head of the government’s crisis management, also admitted that many houses of citizens were damaged.
The state-run daily Jahan-e-Sanat with the title ‘the censorship of the destruction’ wrote: “The amount of damage affected the houses is much higher than that in the media. In general, more than 80 percent of the houses have been destroyed. Because of the rain, snow and cold, life in tents is hard for people. But it is unclear how destructive houses are rebuilt. The earthquake hit people, because of the bad memories of the events of the earthquake of Sarpol Zahab, they are demanding the pursuit of homes as soon as possible.”
While the earthquake entered extensive damages, the announcement of “limited losses” by the regime and its governor in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, caused anger and dissatisfaction of the people.
On February 18, in protest over the neglect of the authorities and the lack of relief to the earthquake hit people, the people of Sisakht held a protest, saying that 5,000 tents that officials promised have not been distributed and it is not clear where they have gone.
Ibrahim Raisi, the head of the judiciary, went on a pointless action to Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province to show the government cares about the people and their problems.
He was present among a few people and claimed: “In natural disasters, we must seek refuge in the laws of God Almighty to be safe.” (Mizan News Agency, February 20)
Such claims by officials are to release them from their responsibilities which is a very normal action in Iran and its officials, according to dissidents.
But the people in response to him and the government cried: “Let’s look, we do not have a blanket, no one cares, we have been in the cold for 4 days and no one has come to ask how you are.”
People’s protests are against in the coldness and bad condition is while the regime claims that they have distributed 5,000 tents among the people whose homes are destroyed.
But this claim is false and in conflict with the statements of the people, and it is unclear where these tents are and who received them.
Given that this region is a high-risk earthquake zone, the government has not taken any actions for the rehabilitation of buildings and protecting the lives of the people.
According to a government expert: “The earthquake on February 17 has been the fourth average earthquake with a magnificent magnitude of more than 5 on the Richter scale in Sisakht in the last decade. It is still expected that aftershocks will occur in the next day and weeks in the focal area of this earthquake.” (State-run Shargh daily, February 22)
The mass destruction of the people’s homes is directly related to the plunder of the resources of the Iranian people by this regime, residents say.
A government that wasted the property and wealth of the poor people rather than spending it for the country’s construction and the prosperity of the people. They are more concerned to spend it for their military and security agencies, especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the useless nuclear and missile projects.
Meanwhile, in a situation where the people of Sisakht and other earthquake areas live in frail houses, which are destroyed with each earthquake measuring over 5 in magnitude, the heads of the government and their families live in palaces, villas and resistant penthouses. Aristocratic regions that the state media call “Basti Hills”.
The regime constructed for its officials, especially the Revolutionary Guard, three special luxury towns with villas, apartments with shopping centers which are robust and resistant facing natural disasters, naming, ‘Mahaliti, Daghayeghi and ‘Shahrak’, while governmental experts warned about extreme destruction in Tehran, in the state of a relative strong earthquake, due to the non-resilience of the people’s homes.