In the earthquake area, the Iranian government decided to call back Artesh and to replace them with Sepah,
On Sunday 21 November at 21:48 a tremendous earthquake took place 30 kilometers northwest of Sar-e-Pul Zahab and 32 kilometers southwest of Halabja, felt by about 150 million people. Approximately more than 2000 people found death as a result. The exact amount of casualties is still unknown however, since many still have to be removed from the rubble.
Right befor the earthquake took place, ambulances with medical assistance were send to Karbala, a Shiite city in Iraq, instead of helping out Iranian Kurdish civilians. Therefore, there were no medical facilities for the victims in Iran. The villages that were destroyed because of the earthquake were meant for low income employees and it were these people, the poorest amongst the populations, that were therefore struck the hardest.
One day after the earthquake, clothing, food and other aid was provided in the Kurdistan area. The next day however, the government decided to control the popular highways to stop the aid cars from handing over aid to the victims. The government furthermore even prevents foreign aid. Doctors Without Borders has repeatedly requested the Iranian government to let them in from the Iraqi border, but the government won’t allow them to. Even journalists are denied access into the area.
Self-made tents are severely damaged by the rain and several have collapsed. The past week, people have even frozen to death as a result of the cold and rain. Therefore, it is extremely important to take immediate action, as survivors of the earthquake are getting more and more ill. The social media show a very bad situation in the area. Right after the earth quake Artesh, the army of the Iranian government, helped to search for survivors of the earthquake under the rubble. Recently however, the Iranian government decided to call back Artesh and to replace them with Sepah, which resulted in military control of the area without any assistance in the search for victims or survivors of the earthquake.