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Iranian Volunteers Battle To Help Quake Victims Sleeping In Freezing Cold

February 2, 2023
2 min read
Iranian Volunteers Battle To Help Quake Victims Sleeping In Freezing Cold
Iranian Volunteers Battle To Help Quake Victims Sleeping In Freezing Cold
Iranian Volunteers Battle To Help Quake Victims Sleeping In Freezing Cold
Iranian Volunteers Battle To Help Quake Victims Sleeping In Freezing Cold

By Shokoh Sadeghnia, Khoy

Hundreds of Iranians from the northwestern city of Khoy and surround villages spent five straight nights in the open in sub-zero temperatures, as the authorities failed to provide earthquake victims with essential relief items.

Elia, 30, and two colleagues came to Khoy with two trucks carrying blankets, warm clothes, heating equipment and canned foods.

The trio represents a small charity group from Tabriz, which she asked not to name in fear of the authorities’ reprisals.

"Honestly, no serious relief activity has been organized for the surrounding villages. As for Khoy itself, it is snowing heavily and there really are not enough tents and heating devices," she said.

The January 28 earthquake killed at least three people, injured more than 1,000 and forced hundreds to seek shelter from freezing winter conditions. The official IRNA news agency said that over 3,000 houses were damaged.

Khoy, with a population of around 200,000, was particularly affected, but the semi-official Mehr news agency reported that a total of 70 villages in West Azerbaijan province were also hit.

Security forces have violently dispersed crowds of angry protesters demanding badly needed emergency relief items.

"This is not the first time that I am present among people affected by an earthquake, but public aid is not as it was after previous disasters because [the authorities] no longer let popular and trusted figures come and help,” says a volunteer from Ardabil.

“Ask the people to help charities and trusted people if they can. Say that those who are sleeping on the street at night had warm houses until just five days ago."

Elia said that those willing to help should not come to Khoy “because the facilities here are very limited, and the limited resources such as tents, heating devices, and food are handed to the relief forces.”

“The best help is to collect electric heaters, blankets, tents, and warm clothes. Anyone can buy these items and send them here."

Ali is a 35-yeard-old civil engineer who took a holiday to come to Khoy with friends. They arrived in the city with a truck and a van full of blankets and food.

"I couldn’t resist after seeing a clip of the police using water cannons against people. I collected these items from friends and relatives and arrived here 10 hours after watching that clip.

He said that families who do not have tents should urgently be given blankets while night temperatures drop to minus eight degrees Celsius.

“People are always kind and send blankets and warm clothes, but the shortage of tents has made the situation very miserable,” Ali said, adding, “Asking the officials is useless. Only the public can help those affected."

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