- Published: Friday, 24 July 2020
On July 20, the Kermanshah Municipality, western Iran, issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the residents of Sarpol Zahab to evacuate their shelters and find a home for themselves.
On 12 November 2017, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake devastated homes in the western part of the country, on the eve of a severe winter in these areas, killing 620 people, injuring 9,388, and leaving about 70,000 homeless.
Nearly three years after the earthquake that shook the west of Iran and while many citizens of Sarpol-e-Zahab since that time have remained homeless, the municipality issued an ultimatum on 20 July that in the next 48 hours, the earthquake victims must evacuate the shelters, which have been made by the survivors themselves.
Almost three years after the earthquake, Iran’s regime, while taking no measures to provide housing for these citizens, is forcibly evacuating and making these earthquake victims homeless.
At the same time, housing and rental prices have more than quadrupled during this period. While residents lost everything, how is it possible for them to provide or rent a house or apartment.
"Of course, they were promised land for renting, but after almost three years, these promises have not been fulfilled," Mehr News Agency wrote on July 20.
Despite these hardships and problems, the Kermanshah municipality issued a warning to the earthquake victims, stating that "the shelters are being collected and the residents of these chambers must evacuate as soon as possible."
Saber Heydari, the mayor of Sarpol-e-Zahab, declared that "it is forbidden to set up tents and shelters within the legal limits of cities" and warned that "residents should move tents and shelters outside the city limits within 48 hours. Otherwise, the rules will be followed."
But the earthquake victims say that they have nowhere to go and cannot afford a mortgage or rent. Even if the municipality collects the shelters, they will have to set up tents somewhere else and live there.
According to Mohabbat Jamalinia, the governor of Sarpol-e-Zahab, more than 9,600 of the 12,000 barracks in Sarpol-e-Zahab have been collected so far, and the ultimatum to collect the remaining 2,400 is making those people homeless.
This is while the ceiling of the regime’s aid to the earthquake victims in this city, according to Hassan Pirkarami, political and security deputy of the governor of Sarpol-e-Zahab, was only 15 million Tomans to 140 families, which, according to him, was covered by the "Relief Foundation", welfare and "several gracious families.”
In a strange action, the governor of Sarpol-e-Zahab said that "despite his inner desire", he is "collecting shelters in the city" and blaming the "housing owners" for not providing housing for the earthquake victims, “and expressing their kindness to these people, and run “a support campaign in the favor of the tenants.”
Heidari, a member of the parliament, admitted in June this year, "Three years after the Sarpol-e-Zahab earthquake, there are still effects and consequences of the earthquake in people's lives. People face water cuts every day."
Living in a metal shelter which is like an oven in summer and as a fridge in winter sends a clear message to any observer that these residents are forced to live in such a miserable situation.
The ultimatum to evict them from the barracks is being carried out while the regime has previously announced the construction of 200,000 houses and the reconstruction of 30,000 housing units in Syria by this regime.
Now, evicting the earthquake-stricken residents from these temporary shelters, without providing them with decent housing, will result in forced homelessness, and other social crises.
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