Earthquake in Bam
COORDINATION COUNCIL OF INDEPENDENT GROUPS
Compatriots, Free People!
Our disaster-hit homeland is in mourning for yet another catastrophe. The earthquake in Bam and the Kerman region killing, injuring or making homeless more than one hundred thousand people has been a heart-rending event for all the philanthropists in Iran and across the world.
Ever since the news of the earthquake broke out, the Iranian people spontaneously rushed to aid the victims. Aid packages flew in from the towns and villages, near and afar, and from all over the world. The people expressed their readiness to give all kinds of assistance, individually or through the independent organizations. Government officials, however, accepted only material and cash assistance and prevented the independent organizations and even the specialists from going to the area. On the other hand, the Government organizations and institutions immediately displayed their inability, inefficiency, incoherence and mismanagement in the face of the crisis.
Ever since 1979, there have been five strong earthquakes in Iran. Thousands of sub-standard mud-brick houses have been demolished and hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or injured and have lost their homes during those earthquakes[*]. What lessons have the officials learnt from those catastrophes and what measures have they taken to prevent or reduce the financial and human losses in similar incidents? The Bam earthquake displayed clearly what the answer to those questions was: None.
Today, our heart-broken people keep repeating at every corner of our country that similar earthquakes cause much less damages in the technologically more advanced countries such as Japan. Our people ask what their share is from the national wealth and what benefits they have gained from modern scientific and technological advances. The authorities and officials of our society must account for those questions.
We in the following groups have learned from those bitter experiences that we must join hands and operate independently and in an organized manner in order to speed up the activities and achieve higher efficiency in sympathy with the people of Bam and to employ the views of other popular and independent groups and organizations. For this purpose and with the aim of establishing a popular permanent base – at present with the specific aim of helping the Bam earthquake victims – the following groups have come together and have taken the first step to establish “The Coordination Council of Independent Groups”:
1. Asssociation for Cultural Support of Workers
2. Iranian Mountaineers Association
3. Independent Association of Women
4. Students Branch of the Women’s Cultural Center
5. Golshiri Foundation
6. A number of independent women
7. A number of women publishers
8. A number of educators in Karadj
9. March 8 Women
10. Esfand Women
11. Women, Iran, World Website (ZAJ(
13. HQ for Assistance to Bam (SIB(
14. Student Camp
15. Independent Women’s Group
16. Publishers 80 Group
17. Sepehr Mountaineering Group – Rasht
18. Iran Social Forum – Preparations Group
19. And a number of social activists.
Members of the “Coordination Council of Independent Groups” call on other independent organizations to join us in this long-term cooperation and to enrich this popular movement with their experiences and views.
Based on our past experience in social and political crises and natural disasters as well as our knowledge of similar experiences in other countries and an evaluation of the present conditions, we have decided to concentrate our activities on the most vulnerable section of the victims in Bam: women, children and the old people.
“Coordination Council of Independent Groups – Assistance to Bam Victims” has opened Saving Account No. 3011500 with Bank Mellat, Maydan-e Enghelab Branch Code 67033. Joint account holders are: Fatemeh Hamidi, Mansoureh Behkish and Alireza Saghafi Khorassani.
Please send a copy of the receipt of your donation to P.O. Box 1799/15815 Tehran/Iran to enable us to report your name and your donation on our website.
*]] 13 November 1979: An earthquake registering 5.6 on the Richter scale occurred in eastern Iran affecting a number of villages between Gha’en and Khaaf in the Khorassan Province. A total of 385 people lost their lives.
21 June 1990: In the worst earthquake ever in Iran, in the Gilan and Zanjan provinces, registering 7.7 on the Richter scale, 35,000 people were killed and 100,000 were injured. Five hundred thousand people lost their homes; total damages were estimated at approximately US$7 billion.
28 February 1997: An earthquake registering 5.5 on the Richter scale in north-western Iran killed 1,000 people.
10 May 1997: Am earthquake registering 7.1 on the Richter scale in eastern Iran, near the border with Afghanistan, killed 1,560 people.
22 July 2002: An earthquake registering 6.3 on the Richter scale in the Qazvin Province killed 229 people.
26 December 2003: An earthquake registering 6.3 on the Richter scale shook the historic town of Bam, 1,000 km to the south-east of Tehran. Sixty per cent of the buildings were demolished. According to official estimates, more than 30,000 people lost their lives. (Source: Islamic Republic News Agency)