I am writing to you since the earthquake in Kurdistan, western Iran has the most disgusting of aftermaths. As you know, many hundred are dead and several thousand injured in the most powerful earthquake in the area for decades. The earthquake hit impoverished areas with poorly constructed houses that were completely ravaged.
Tonight, people lay out in the streets at -4C. Enormous sums have been allocated for the help of the Gulf States and of the Iranian government but it´s not a help to everybody. Today, I have received reports that confessors to Jarestan (ancient religion) do not get any help and that Kurds generally are discriminated due to their pursuit of independence. The mullas preach that the confessors of the Jarestan are unclean and should therefore be left to freeze and hunger to death. The only help they get is from friendly neighbors.
We appeal to you to make an effort for these double victims, both affected by a natural disaster and religious persecution.
From the WorldKurd Organization, we will make a wholehearted effort for these sufferers, but all organisations and individuals of good will are required for this urgent emergency assistance.
For WorldKurd Organisation
Soheila Fors Kalhor
Every day since the earthquake, I have received distress calls from the Kurdish part of Iran. Families and villages do not receive help because of ethnicity and creed. Therefore, I wrote an open letter to a Doctors without borders. Here comes their answer:
“We read the open letter that you wrote in your role as president of the World Kurd Organization to MSF. You describe that many people in Iran are not reached by humanitarian aid after the earthquake because of their background or religion. We are well aware of the difficult situation on the ground and follow the development closely through media and aid-related channels.
MSF has not started any initiative after the earthquake in Iran. We currently have a minor activity in Iran, a clinic in Tehran. We are totally dependent on the Iranian government’s consent to launch operations outside the Tehran clinic. We have contacted the Iranian government after the earthquake and offered help. Even though we have been working in Iran after earthquakes (eg 1990 and 2003), the Iranian government has not granted this offer on an active role in the disaster response this time. Red crescent in the country has a very good capacity to act in disaster situations. After the earthquake we have had contact with them to get a picture of the situation. MSF continues to follow the situation and we are ready to start humanitarian efforts if the need exists and if the government would still decide to receive our previous offer to work in the affected area.
So far, we have only treated patients affected by the earthquake in Iraq. At Sulaymaniyah Emergency Hospital, our team treated 80 people with various injuries.