September 12, 2008

Earthquake in Iran 6 on the Richter Scale

Iran was hit by an earthquake of a 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale this Wednesday. Authorities in Iran said that 5 people were killed and 45 injured. The majority of those affected by the earthquake were Qeshm villagers and port workers in the area. A state news agency claims that over 100,000 lost power in the villages of Qeshm. Disaster relief teams have already begun investigating the damage and providing relief.

The government has said that none of their oil refineries were damaged by the recent seismic activity although the tremors were initially felt in Bandar Abbas; home of a major oil-refining center. Homes in this region, however have sustained serious damage and the full property toll is not yet known.

The tremor s that rocked Iran this Wednesday were modest in comparison to the 2003 earthquake in Bam that killed nearly 31,000 people. Iran lies on numerous fault lines making it susceptible to an unusual amount of seismic activity.

While the state run news has claimed minimal injuries and deaths, there is little way to know the real losses. With Iran’s history of disastrous earthquakes this seems to hardly register in the category. Perhaps in the coming weeks and months we will see more detailed damage reports and only then will we be able to rationalize how a 6.1 earthquake affected so few. Although it is never good practice to anticipate bad news, bad news that is hidden behind state propaganda can hardly ease the losses the people have suffered. Additionally, the boasting to the international community about the safety of their oil refineries while there were still people without running water only speaks to the lack of importance citizens hold in the eyes of the state. In a time of crisis, one would hope for and expect the government to attend to the urgent needs of their people rather than deceiving the international community into believing that all is well.

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