Frustration is boiling over as earthquake survivors sleep outside in freezing temperatures, waiting for much-needed aid to reach devastated areas of Iran.
“People here have nothing, nothing. No tents, no blankets, no food. There’s nothing here. People are facing very tough conditions here. It’s a crisis situation,” one resident of Sarpol-e Zahab, a town in Iran’s western Kermanshah Province that has been described as among the worst hit, told a journalist reporting from the scene.
“It’s a disaster,” the unidentified man said in a video interview conducted in the town, situated in a mountainous area 30 kilometers from the Iraqi border. “Our dear leader, our dear president, they have to help us,” he pleaded in the video, which was posted on the Twitter page of journalist Mehdi Babaei.
Iranian authorities have reported at least 530 deaths and 8,000 injuries resulting from the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck late on November 12, while seven deaths and 530 injuries have been reported across the border in Iraq. And as reports and videos emerge from the epicenter, hope appears to be fading.
Even as President Hassan Rohani gave assurances during a visit on November 14 to affected regions that the government would “use all its power to resolve the problems,” residents of Sarpol-e Zahab described having to sleep outside in the cold for a second night, and said they’re still waiting to receive help from the authorities.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the entity handling the response to the quake, Behnam Saidi, said search operations were “reaching their end.”
In a video by the news agency of the state broadcaster IRIB, posted by Shargh Daily, an unidentified man said that “water, gas, electricity — they all have been cut. We have nothing, and no official has come here.”
The hard-line Fars news agency posted a video of angry residents in Sarpol-e Zahab, complaining of what they described as a lack of attention and news coverage of their plight. “People need water and food. Help us,” a man says in the video from the town, which is located in a largely Kurdish-populated area.
“There’s not even a good team covering the news about us, and there’s no one removing the debris, people here are not part of Iran? Are we not part of this nation?” another man asks.
“A gentleman in a suit comes here and tells the media that all has been resolved,” alleged another.
The semiofficial Fars separately posted an interview with a resident of Kermanshah who said he and his…