NCRI Staff

NCRI - If happened in Tehran, the recent earthquake in Western Iran could’ve left one million dead and injured 19 million Iranians live in 14 thousand hectares of dilapidated urban areas across the country.

How many people will die in Iran’s next major earthquake? How many children will be left orphan and how many houses will be destroyed?

In an article by Majid Rousta, board member of Urban Construction and Renovation Holding Company, state-run Shahrefarda website writes “140 thousand hectares of Iran’s urban areas are dilapidated, historic, or residing place of poor marginal dwellers, in which more than 19 million Iranians live. Besides, many of these places are unlawfully built and not officially listed.”Aside from all the problems and issues involved with dilapidated areas, lives of more than 19million Iranians is threatened by such natural disasters as earthquake, flood, or even a heavy rain.

Pointing to the number of people killed and injured during the recent earthquake in Kermanshah and Sarpol-e- Zahab, Rousta says “this means that 25 percent of Iran’s population is now in danger. Who knows where and when the next major earthquake will hit the country? Which entity is responsible for resolving the issue of country’s dilapidated urban areas? What responsibilities does the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development have as the only authorized entity responsible for dilapidated areas? And what responsibilities do the municipalities have as local entities pursuing urban development issues? What’s the secret to a calm, untroubled life in such developed countries like Japan, despite experiencing even stronger earthquakes compared to our country?”

Seeing the heart-wrenching images of lots of people killed in Western Iran’s recent earthquake while surfing the internet, such questions have definitely formed in most people’s minds.

Meanwhile, the most this incident and its related developments will be talked about would be the next one month, just like other tragedies that left many in Azerbaijan, South Khorasan, Bam, and Roudbar mournful. Afterwards, the same construction style and urban management policies will continue with no one caring about dilapidated areas and the potential threat they pose to people’s lives.

In a tragic indecent happening in Iran’s southwestern city of Bam, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in just 12 seconds left only 30,000 people out of the city’s 90,000 population unharmed. Close to 27,000 women, men, children, old and young died in an earthquake which with such magnitude is quite commonplace and leaves the least number of casualties in such countries as Japan. And let’s not forget that there were still more than 30,000 others who lost their families, houses, and relatives in the incident.”

Rousta then points to earthquakes happened in Japan, saying “an earthquake with the same magnitude as the one that happened last Sunday in western Iran hit Japan in March last year, with its timing and characteristics being quite similar. According to released figures, less than 500 were injured in the earthquake and its death toll was below 20.”

Now imagine that instead of Azgaleh, the epicenter of the recent magnitude 7.2 earthquake was a bit farther away in Kermanshah. In that case, what would be the fate of residents of the city’s 1,000 hectares of dilapidated areas? What if the epicenter was in Tehran, what would be the dimensions of the disaster then?

According to head of Tehran City Council, there are 4,000 dilapidated areas in the city.

“Unfortunately, most cities in the country are faced with the problem of dilapidated areas.

Meanwhile, as Tehran municipality has been seeking to make quick profits, the issue of dilapidated areas has been ignored.” (State-run Mehr news agency, November 13, 2017)

Earlier, CEO of regime’s Renovation Organization had acknowledged that because of Tehran’s dilapidated areas, a disaster much more tragic than last year’s Plasco fire would occur, should a major earthquake hit the city.” (State-run Mehr news agency, February 8, 2017)

Meanwhile, director of Earthquake Research Department in regime’s ministry of Roads, Housing, and Urban Development ‘Ali Beiollahi’ said in an interview with state-run ILNA news agency on November 14, 2017 “if an earthquake as powerful as the one in Kermanshah province happens in Tehran, 200,000 buildings will be totally destroyed and collapse. The collapse of this many buildings will definitely leave one million casualties, a real disaster indeed.”

Beiollahi maintained that “unfortunately there are a lot of new yet non-resistant buildings in Tehran that fail to resist a magnitude 7 earthquake like the one that hit Kermanshah.”

Secretary of National Earthquake Workgroup then added “the estimated one million casualties following a possible magnitude 7 earthquake in Tehran would only be due to collapse of buildings and the figure could even go higher if secondary incidents like explosions are taken into account.” “Considering secondary threats, the number of casualties after an earthquake in Tehran will definitely rise”, he asserted.

Pointing out that there are currently 200,000 dilapidated buildings in Tehran, Beitollahi said” of Tehran’s more than one million registered houses, 200,000 are located in dilapidated areas that are subject to more destruction. “Secretary of National Earthquake Workgroup then pointed out that the city’s central and southern districts would be most hit in Tehran’s possible earthquake, saying “it’s predicted that districts 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 suffer the most damage as they have more dilapidated areas.”

“Another serious threat in Tehran would be gas explosions following an earthquake, so that Shahran region will definitely be seriously hit due to accommodating numerous gas tanks”, he added.

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