200 women heads of households among the afflicted residents
Iran’s clerical regime has failed to respond to the earthquake in Sisakht.
Natural disasters exacerbate the situation for many Iranians who are already suffering enormously during the pandemic under an inhuman and irresponsible regime that cares for nothing but holding its grips on power. Such is the case of the residents of Sisakht in Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad Province, in southwest Iran.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale shook the small city of Sisakht and on the night of February 17, 2021 and caused damage to the lives of a large part of the populace, including 200 women heads of households. Fourty-seven people were injured and irreparable damage was done to the houses of the city’s residents.
The Governor of Dena announced that day that more than 70% of people’s homes had been damaged. Water, electricity and gas were cut off in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Sisakht.
The governor of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province said, “If the earthquake had lasted a few more seconds, it would have caused a catastrophe.” (The state-run IRNA news agency – February 28, 2021)
The situation of women in Sisakht
Located on the slopes of Mount Dena, winters are extremely cold in Sisakht. So, the cold weather has made conditions worse for the earthquake-stricken people many of whom live in tents.
The tents do not protect the residents, including many women and children, from the freezing cold. Heating the tents is very difficult due to lack of suitable heating equipment. In one instance, fire burned down one of the tents.
The conditions are intolerable for those who do not even have tents, blankets or food. To draw the attention of officials to the inhuman conditions of her family, a woman head of household attempted to jump off the roof of the Red Crescent building.
One of the residents posted a video clip on this incident, saying, “Dear friends, if you hear our voice, this is the Red Crescent building in Dena city. Due to the lack of the smallest amenities such as tents, blankets, food and clothing, this lady has been forced to climb to the top of the building to throw herself down.”
He went on: “The situation is the same outside the Red Crescent building. People have gathered in protest.”
The Red Crescent did not even provide people with plastics to cover their tents and protect it from water and cold.
Out of a total of 2,700 households in the city, 1,900 houses were damaged, and at least 200 women-headed households were affected during the earthquake in Sisakht.
A charity NGO official said 3,700 residential units had suffered damages during the earthquake in Sisakht. Some houses were completely destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.
The county’s agricultural sector suffered damages equivalent to 950 billion rials, especially in the fisheries sector and fish farms. (The state-run Mehr news agency – March 6, 2021)
Damages inflicted on educators and students
Forty schools with 171 classrooms in Sisakht and surrounding villages in Dena County were severely damaged or are in need of repair as a result of the earthquake in February. (The state-run IRNA news agency – March 4, 2021)
The quake caused severe damage to educational facilities, and to the homes of working and retired educators. More than 200 of these housing units are owned by the Education Ministry, usually inhabited by teachers and school caretakers. Although the conditions have become very tough for this group of residents in Sisakht, the Ministry of Education has not provided them any form aid. (The state-run IRNA news agency – March 3, 2021)
What do the people of Sisakht want?
The main demand of the people of Sisakht, which is located on an earthquake fault, is to have earthquake proof houses, built according to seismologic engineering rules. But there has been no sign of the government building any houses in this area.
There are not any engineers and specialists in Sisakht who could scientifically analyze the type of rubble, materials, damage, and their relationship with each other.
The regime’s response to the earthquake-stricken people in Sisakht
After the earthquake in Sisakht, women and children needed a shelter where they could take refuge from the cold. But instead, the regime deployed troops to quell any outburst of protests.
Hekmatian, an IRGC official in this city, declared that their number one priority was to establish order and security in the city of Sisakht. The Imam Hussein battalions and the 448th brigade battalions, along with other military teams, moved to Sisakht to secure order. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – February 24, 2021)
On April 1, 2018, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake caused damage in the cities of Sisakht and Yasuj.
In 1989, another earthquake of the same magnitude shook Sisakht and damaged 1,000 residential units. (The state-run IRNA news agency – March 2, 2021)
Women and children are the first victims of these tragic events. Poverty and lack of hygiene add to the stress caused by the earthquake. Women, in particular, need hygiene and heating for themselves and their children.
It is worthy to note that the residents of Kermanshah Province who experienced an earthquake three years ago, are still living in make-shift units without proper utilities and hygiene.