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More Children Fall Victim to Ahvaz’s Decayed Sewage System

July 4, 2023
Maryam Dehkordi
3 min read
On April 21, Iranian media reported the death of a three-year-old girl who had fallen into a sewage well in Ahvaz, the capital of south-western Khuzestan province
On April 21, Iranian media reported the death of a three-year-old girl who had fallen into a sewage well in Ahvaz, the capital of south-western Khuzestan province
According to an IranWire investigation, at least nine children under the age of nine have fallen victim to the city’s sewage system over the past seven years
According to an IranWire investigation, at least nine children under the age of nine have fallen victim to the city’s sewage system over the past seven years
According to an individual residing in the neighborhood, the mounds of dirt created by the water and sewage company to pump water from the septic tank are located right next to a children's playground in the park
According to an individual residing in the neighborhood, the mounds of dirt created by the water and sewage company to pump water from the septic tank are located right next to a children's playground in the park

On April 21, Iranian media reported the death of a three-year-old girl who had fallen into a sewage well in Ahvaz, the capital of south-western Khuzestan province. 

The girl, named Jenan, opened the door of her father's car while her family was shopping for the holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, and fell into the unprotected well. 

According to an IranWire investigation, at least nine children under the age of nine have fallen victim to the city’s sewage system over the past seven years.

In an attempt to avoid such tragedies in the future, an online petition was launched to "build a modern sewage system in the deprived areas of Ahvaz."

"For many years, the sewage system in Ahvaz has failed to meet city standards, especially in densely populated areas, in suburbs where vulnerable communities reside," a local activist told IranWire. 

"Most of the sewage canals are open and ditches are scattered throughout the streets. This poses a danger for children and contributes to the spread of infectious diseases among residents, endangering their health and lives," he added. 

"These unprotected sewage wells have been left neglected for nearly two years,” a resident of Ahvaz told IranWire. “Residents have sent numerous letters, but the Ahvaz Water Authority and the contracting company have failed to reach an agreement, leaving these wells unsecured. It is due to the incompetence of the provincial officials that children have lost their lives in these wells." 

Jenan’s death came less than a month after Meysam Shaverdi, an eight-year-old resident of Ahvaz’s Modares neighborhood, died after falling into a sewage well in Shohada Park.

According to an individual residing in the neighborhood, the mounds of dirt created by the water and sewage company to pump water from the septic tank are located right next to a children's playground in the park. 

"Children often play on these mounds, and it's likely that the child slipped and fell into the septic tank. Instead of addressing the problems faced by the residents of this area, the water and sewage company has destroyed the children's playground and dried up the green space," the resident added. 

After Meysam’s family lodged a complaint over the boy’ death, the managing director of the Khuzestan Water and Sewerage Company and the managing director of the contracting company responsible for water projects in the Modares area were arrested on March 31, according to local media.

Two days later, the Khuzestan Water and Sewerage Company issued a public apology to the residents of Modares neighborhood. 

In May 2022, 22-month-old Marvan Khanfari died after falling into a sewage well in another neighborhood of Ahvaz. 

Another incident involving the city’s sewage system claimed the life of a two-year-old boy named Fares Heydari in December 2021.  

One of the victim’s relatives told IranWire that the child remained “stuck for 31 minutes in the [sewage] canal and died.”

"The open sewage canal in front of our house has no protection, the water depth reaches half a meter and it is dangerous for children. If they had at least drained the water, we would not bury our loved one."

A year prior to this tragedy, in February 2020, the three-year-old Daniyal Navasari fell into a large sewage canal filled with mud. 

And in the summer of the same year, a one-year-old child named Seddiqeh Heydari died in another neighborhood for the same reason as Daniyal. 

Her family has said that they have filed a complaint against Ahvaz Municipality.

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