On Sunday, November 12, 2017, at 21:48 pm local time, a powerful magnitude 7/3 earthquake struck northwest Iran near the border with Iraq. As of Monday, more than four hundred people were reported dead, with most of the reported deaths in the Iranian Province of Kermanshah including Sarpol-e Zahab City, Sahneh County, etc. In the aftermath of the earthquake and in the catastrophic context present right after the disaster, what was really astonishing was the aid and assistance coming from different corners of the country. People from all walks of life came to help their fellow countrymen. In Press TV’s “Helping Hands,” the extensive, empathetic aid aiming at the victims of the Kermanshah earthquake is depicted through the lenses of our camera. We have Maryam Maqsoodipour, the team leader of At-risk Children Association, who, along with her colleagues, holds different types of workshop including origami, drawing, music, doll making, etc. for the victims. We also see Azim Azadi, a relief worker from the Red Crescent, who puts all his effort and energy into helping the victims to improve their life conditions. And this list goes on with the different commanders and soldiers from different battalions and brigades who enthusiastically, passionately, and empathetically work in a round-the-clock fashion to mitigate the catastrophic effects of the earthquake.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
CONVERSATION [Kurdish] Family Members: “Hurry! Chop-chop!
Milad dear! Watch out! Watch your step!
Don’t go that way!
Go! All of you!”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hossein Sabzi, Commander at Kermanshah Province: “According to local officials, there are close to 13,900 residential buildings in Sarpol-e Zahab, of which around 576 are in the Mehr Housing Plan area, and the same number, rather more than that number of buildings, are in the Fuladi area.
According to preliminary estimates, around 4,500 units across the city have been seriously damaged and will have to be demolished. The Mehr Housing Plan and Fuladi areas are the worst hit, in particular the Fuladi area, which reported the most casualties.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Amiri, Makeshift Hospital Director: “Given the 170-180 kilometer distance between The Behistunand Sarpol-e Zahab, we arrived here at a quarter to two in the morning, meaning our units got to the earthquake hit areas within three hours and forty-five or fifty minutes. But, well, before us, all the other units that were present in the region, had already started relief and rescue operations.
-Commander barking orders: “Company!” “Attention!” “Stand at ease!”
The esteemed commander of the Army came over and dividedSarpol-e Zahab into four areas. Brigade 281 was put in charge of the region in the West of Arvand River, which was divided into seven areas. Battalion 150 of the brigade was assigned to the Mehr Housing Plan and Fuladi areas.
Every battalion divided its area of responsibility among four or five companies, every company broke up into three platoons each of which divided up into three groups, meaning every one of these camps had someone in charge.
Almost all those who were vividly alive under the rubble were rescued by sunrise.
The troops from the army rescued around 1,800 people from under the rubble. 1,200 of them were evacuated by helicopter.
We’ve admitted nearly 9,000 patients here since the earthquake. 56 helicopters were used for transferring the injured. Another 1,200 people were also evacuated on helicopters. We sheltered 1,500 of the injured in Abuzar Garrison. The number of the injured was overwhelming. We set up this make-shift hospital overnight.”
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Amiri, Makeshift Hospital Director: “Basically, our make-shift hospital took over from Sarpol Martyrs Hospital’s operating room. There were no other operational hospitals in this area in the immediate aftermath.
We’ve put two Bennette machines here in case someone needs artificial respiration.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Woman, Victim of earthquake: “My other sister brought him here. I don’t know what happened in that tent. They said he wasn’t breathing.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Doctor in Uniform: “We admitted the child immediately and administered artificial respiration and CPR. Fortunately, he came to after 30 seconds.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Man: “One of the people’s most urgent problems was the lack of enough water and food. The water in the area became murky. People, among them children, were thirsty. I brought 12,000 cans of chicken with me along with 7,000 bottles of mineral water, and nearly 300 tents.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Assad Bohlooli, Commander, Battalion 317:“-It’s raining now.”
Our brigade commander Colonel Sabzi said, “The first thing I want you all to do is to lead the operations efficiently.” “Get a handle on the situation.” It was a bit difficult to do that in those early moments because the crisis had just struck and people were under a lot of pressure.”
CONVERSATION [Kurdish] Assad Bohlooli & Victims: “- Hello! How are you? You OK? God willing. I’m don’t mean to impose. And Electric heater?”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Assad Bohlooli, Commander, Battalion 317:“The weather got very cold. People were complaining. And there was nothing we could do. Ultimately, when the Red Crescent Society’s tents arrived, a lot of people like Mr. Hiemanand others would come and take a tent for themselves. But someone like her, who’s disabled, couldn’t. And unfortunately, they didn’t have anyone to do it for them. A battalion of 30 was here at the time. They distributed the tents and set them up, too.
My father’s house collapsed in the quake. I only found out that no one from my family was injured after two hours. Only our property was damaged. And we thanked God for it. I told my parents, “Look, I’m not moving to another province.” “I’m coming to the impacted area.” “I only went to check on my family after a whole week.” “We treated everybody as family when we were here.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] ICRC men: “-When the quake struck, I was in Sahneh County. We were told by the provincial emergency operations center to go to the area as the representative of the EOC. We set off for Sarpol-e Zahab immediately.
-Man with glasses: Here’s where things stand in Fuladi: They’ve gotten their tents,…
- Their 72-hour kits, their dish sets, their one-month kits, their floor covers and their blankets.
- I mean it’s all been listed. I mean…
-You mean if we distribute the mattresses in the Fuladi area,
- We’ll have given them everything they need.
- All their basic necessities. Yes.
- OK! That shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll hand you 400 mattresses today to be distributed there. Sure.
- Yes! Mr. Ahmadi. The address. Please jot down the address.”
TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Akbar Eyvazi, Logistics Manager: “In the food ration distribution phase, we distributed 72-hour survival food kits in the early hours after the tumbler. And after the first 72 hours, we distributed one-month food kits that mostly contained nutritious foodstuff, in particular grains. We also supplied canned food.
In the urban area, we covered nearly 16,000 households and in villages, around 13,000 households, that’s a total of about 85 thousand people.
When it came to the villages, it was difficult to take supplies to them using road transport. And because our aim was to provide shelter for the survivors in the early aftermath of the quake, we used helicopters to access the remotest villages that were now inaccessible, and deliver our tents.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Akbar Eyvazi, Logistics Manager, On The Phone: “Tappeh Maran Village. 170 households. What do you need, sir? Dinnerware sets? Mr. Asghari, could you write this down, please. Dish sets: 170. Mattresses: 170.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ali Jabbari, Kamanche Player: “Naturally, much of communication is done through the eyes. And well because I’m blind, I don’t have that luxury. So for me communication is verbal and energetic. The feeling that everything’s been ruined, that everything’s in a shambles, and that nothing’s where it’s supposed to be. The vibe I got from the people here conveyed deep sorrow and depression, and on top of it all, the feeling that was relayed to me was that of utter shock.
If you were to help with relief operations, you’d have to be in a good physical, emotional and mental state yourself. The only option I have left is to bottle up all my sorrows caused by the situation I am in, the feelings that are triggered by the troubles of my fellow citizens, by the humans around me, and think how best I can do what I’m going to do.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Ali & Woman: “- How’s it going, Ali?
- Fine, thanks. How are you?
- I’m alright. Thanks. Did it go well today?
- Yes, it did. The weather was good. We did it out in the open…
- I think the kids liked it, didn’t they?
- Yeah, but they probably didn’t hear the music well since we didn’t have a sound system.
- Did you like it today?
- It was great.
- Good. I too think today went really well. Maryam! Did you learn how to do pay it, too?
- Let’s have a look at it. Wow, this is gorgeous!”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Maryam Maqsoodipoor, Team Leader- At-Risk Children Association: “We were like 900 km away. We drove for a whole day to get here. When we arrived, the kids had been through 24 hours of sleeplessness. They were exhausted. Still, we went straight to our performance. We held an origami workshop, a drawing workshop, a music workshop, a doll making workshop, a musical instrument making workshop, and a balloon workshop along with games, and a workshop that all the kids played together in. You can see the signs of the last workshop on my hands.”
CONVERSATON [Persian] Children: “- Are you having fun, children?
- Are you having fun, children?
- I’m having so much fun!”
TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Azim Azadi, Relief Worker, Red Crescent: “The Koiekvillages that I have been working with for 25 years, are home to 550 households and a population of 2,024. There wasn’t a single household without a problem. I’d say like 10 household escaped the earthquake unhurt. But the rest saw their family members get injured or die. We’d never experienced such a powerful and destructive quake. Our women and children were naturally in distress. They couldn’t find each other. In such circumstances, you don’t know whom to help. Someone was stuck under the rubble, another one said, “Please, save my wife.” Another said, “Save my child.” In other words, everybody was calling out for help. One of the commonalities of a social worker and a Red Crescent relief worker is that a social worker, as he alleviates the conditions of the people, is also a relief worker. I am a trainer with the Red Crescent Society, too. I felt duty-bound to do something immediately, which was to find out who was under the rubble and rescue them with the help of the people obviously, not by myself.
Someone like him, my nephew that is, when we got to him, we pulled out his wife and eldest son, from under the rubble, it gladdened my heart. I was over the moon because my brother, who was also injured, told us to go after his son’s family and rescue them. It was a critical situation. There were a lot of injured survivors. People were wailing and screaming. We’d quickly bring the bodies here either from the hospital or straight from the rubble. We had no time to lose. The forensic doctors were here along with the police commander and me. We’d quickly put their names right next to their heads, take a picture of them to be used as death certificates. And right after, we’d bury them and number the graves.
The grave I’m standing over, which is number one, contains the bodies of four of my sister’s children. This is grave number three. If my memory serves me right, there are six people buried here. My elder brother, his son’s daughter, we laid them to rest here. So this is my elder brother’s grave. I’ve lost 27 members of my family. All in all, we had more than 100 deaths that day, all of whom were buried in this graveyard.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Khosravi, Resident of Fuladi Area: “This is the Fuladi neighborhood which was the worst hit. In the early hours after the quake, everybody was stressed out, worried, anxious. There were bodies under the rubble. Everybody was scared. A couple of hours later, when the army troops arrived, we breathed a sigh of relief. We mustered up the courage to unearth the bodies with them. We became their assistants. We gave these ladies tents.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Hossein Sabzi , commander and Victims: “- Hello.
- Hello! Hi! How’s it going?
- We gave them the tents they live in.
- So Mr. Khosravi has given you tents, correct?
- Yes. Yes. He did.
- How are you feeling today?”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hossein Sabzi, Commander at Kermanshah Province: “They pulled out the bodies in the evening. And I think the last body they uncovered, well this place doesn’t look like it did at the time, but it was in an alleyway there. It was a three or four year old girl. They were looking for her but couldn’t find her. She’d fallen from the second floor and was now under a carpet. The lieutenant who was here with me now,
- Lieutenant Razyani, over there, I sent him after her and he pulled her out.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sadegh Ghassemi, Commander of Battalion 150: “I was shocked when I first arrived here. I’d never seen anything like this in my entire life, never been in such circumstances, never seen such chaos…The people had panicked. They were terrified. They were crying in pain and grief. I couldn’t tell day from night. All we were thinking of was who needed our help most. Before the quake, these were a proud people. But now they were pleading us for the most trivial thing. How could I say “No”? I’d have to answer that request with my whole being.”
CONERSATION [Persian] Victims of Earthquake: “-I wouldn’t mind if my house was demolished a thousand times. All I wanted back was my loved ones. Here’s a toy!
- It used to be my son’s.
- It used to belong to my one-year-old nephew’s toy. His son. This is my brother. It was his toy.
- But they’re still alive in my imagination. I imagine my kid’s playing over there. My wife is smiling at me from there. My eyes see one thing and my heart tells me another. I see all this and my heart tells me something else. It says they are alive. They are coming back. They could be back any minute.”
TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sadegh Ghassemi, Commander of Battalion 150: “There were many needs we couldn’t meet. All we’d do was “I’m sorry” with tear in our eyes. They made their requests with all their hearts. They was no pretense.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Victim & Commander: “I heard an explosion. I didn’t even feel the earthquake. When I heard the blast, all I managed to do was push my nephew under the stairway on the other side, and when I returned to look at the others, and this was like two seconds later, I only saw rubble. I wanted to move forward, it was dark and I couldn’t see anything, I wanted to move forward and…
- There was no electricity…
- The power was cut instantly. We couldn’t see a thing. And so when I took a step forward, I bumped my head on the rubble. I put up my arms and felt the rubble over me. I was stuck under the rubble.
- You were right there under all the rubble.
- I thought I’d died. Honestly, I thought I was dead. But because I was breathing and the dust I was breathing made my chest hurt, I realized I wasn’t dead.
- You weren’t dead.
- That I was still alive. I know my parents suffocated to death. Because I’ve experienced not being able to breathe under there, I can feel how my mother must have died. How my brother’s wife died. How my one-year-old nephew died. That’s because I experienced suffocation down there. I don’t know how fast the army troops got here. But in the first one or two hours after the quake, I even heard they came from Sumar. I don’t know if they came by helicopters or things like that, but they got here really fast. What happened there was that the army troops pulled my nephew out from under the rubble.”
- How are you?
- I’m fine.
- How are you holding up? Feeling better?
- I’m OK.
- This is my brother. His head was under a shoe rack and the rest of his body was under the rubble. We managed to pull him out, too. They were all sitting down together. Like I said, my mother pulled them all to her chest.
- It was his son and my cousin. She acted as a shield for them. They didn’t sustain a single injury by the falling debris. They died of dust inhalation. In total, we lost ten loved ones. In two seconds.
- I don’t know what happened. I got up to walk but was thrown down. I guess I fell under the staircase. But they were sitting right where there were. Perhaps they thought they’d be safe there. I don’t know what they were thinking. They were all buried there. We were hurled onto the other side under the stairs and survived. I hope to God I’ll be able to smile so their souls will also smile. I don’t know. I want many things from God. I want him to help me. To give me patience. To help me come to terms with this. To enable me to live on. I don’t know. God please help me. God give me patience. To me, to my brothers, to my sisters and to my neighbors, to the residents of Sarpol-e Zahab. To the people of Iran. God be my witness, the people of my country, did everything for us. They did a lot for us. The army did everything for us. I hope to God for Iran to be standing tall. The sympathies of the people, the emotions they shared…I mean without those, we’d have died of grief.
- For the sake of your own kind, of your countryman, who is in pain, listen to his demands, even if that means picking up the garbage from his doorstep, or outside his tent. Picking up the garbage with your own hands. You’d pride yourself on it. I may not do something like that in the garrison, or in a war I might ask my soldiers to do it for me. But not here. We didn’t give orders, or tell our troops what to do. We were all equal.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Reza Soltani, Head of Conex Shelter Manufacturing Factory: “It was announced that the IRGC was tasked with providing temporary shelters in villages. Since we already had operational construction workshops in the area, we set up this workshop on this location within 24 hours. On average, we make around 100 shelters every day. SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Reza Soltani, Head of Conex Shelter Manufacturing Factory: “We are on location, which means we have convenient access to the nearby villages. We are building Conex shelters nonstop and fast, and sending them off to the villages.
We were told today to make an additional 500 shelters. This factory is able to and has been told to make 1,500 shelters. So we’re going to get our production line running again today.”
TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00
According to the stats they released, there are 1,980 villages in Kermanshah province. And the IRGC has been tasked with providing services to all of them. Every one of them that needs demolition and temporary shelters, my colleagues will see to them. We were up against two challenges in the villages. One was the human population in those villages and the other was the livestock. Many of the villagers were trying to save their livestock. Those animals sustained injuries, too. Mind you, they are the villagers’ lifeline.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian]Mahdi Haj Moradian, Director of Villagers Affairs: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Ten boxes. Ten boxes. Bring two here, Mr. Palani. This is a food package enough to tide a family over for a month. Are you following me? There are 164 households in your village.
- 163. Yes.
Here are 163 full packages that contain what you see plus 10 kilos of rice…..
- 10 kilos of rice.
- And a full set of dishware.
- A dishware set.
Given the fact that the impacted area is vast, we invited village elders and council members to contribute to the relief effort. And the aim was for the relief operations to be conducted in the shortest span of time possible.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ali Jabbari, Kamanche Player: “In such difficult circumstances, the desire to live should be preserved in children and happiness should be reinstated in them so they can rebuild their lives and fill in the possible voids left behind by lost loved ones or by family members who are grappling with other problems. I hope good things will happen for them.
One of the things I do is I use music therapy with children with intellectual disability. And since I’m familiar with the techniques of music therapy, I have tried to use those techniques in my interactions with children.
I am deeply preoccupied with the thought of the conditions they’re going to grow up in from here. These kids are pure and pristine, and they make you feel good.
One. Two. Three.
Hey! Hey! You’re getting mixed up! You are blowing your lines!
I’m glad, and not me alone, every other person on the team that I’m a member of, we’re glad we’ve been able to cheer these kids up.”
TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00
CONVERSATION [Persian] Some Commanders: “Coming in! Hello! Hi there! Hello! Hello!
- Good to see you. Come on in.
- Thank you.
- Hello. Good to see you.
- Mahya’s father and her twin sister lost their lives in the quake. May they rest in peace!
- Thank you very much.
- God bless his soul.
This little girl is Mahya. Correct?
Yeah. On the day of the quake, I insisted that the excavator driver, Mr. Husseini, remove the rubble from a certain spot because I had a feeling that someone was alive down there. That was because those who’d lost loved ones kept coming back to the ruins of their homes to have a look, but no one was checking out this one. No one would come after this house.
- The mother of these kids, Mahya and Mahyar, was under the rubble. Two to three hours later, the military troops, using the loaders and other equipment they had, and with help from the people, I mean the people saved the day for the most part, they pulled out the mother alive. But because she wasn’t feeling well, she wasn’t completely conscious, they transferred her to Qasr hospital. They kept digging into the next day. They kept going until 6, 7, 8 o’clock and realized there was an alive kid down there, too. By 8:30 or 09:00 they pulled out this kid from under the rubble. She was buried under the rubble from 9:48 pm the night before until 09:00 am the next day.
I am very happy we were able to pull someone out alive from under the rubble. It was really gratifying.”
SOUNDBITE [Kurdish] Victim:“We’re thankful. They gave us everything we asked for. We’ll turn to God for help from now on. At any rate, keep an eye out for us from now on. All I have left is these children. They are all I want. My house is gone. I don’t care.”
SOUNDBITE [Kurdish] Azim Azadi, Relief Worker: “That’s my brother’s house that was destroyed completely. He built it last year. My brother-in-law’s house used to stand there. Also ruined. Over there is my sister’s place that was also devastated. There’s nothing left of it.
Hello there. How’s it going? How are you?
Hello. Fine, thank you.
These are the ruins of my brother’s house. He used to be in the military. His property’s been wrecked.
Bricks and iron beams came crashing down on the poor soul. He was very concerned and sad. But kept my composure. I went to his aid immediately and rescued him. As a first responder, the first thing I should do is save the injured. I’ve been trained for this. I said, “Don’t be scared.”“The main shock is over.” We might only have aftershocks that won't be as dangerous.
That property that’s flattened belongs to a man named Mohammad. He was wounded in the war. His property was ruined but fortunately he survived.”
SOUNDBITE [Kurdish] Man: “This house that’s you see here is my cousin’s. His kid came running to me saying, “My dad is late.” We came over and saw the three of them were under the rubble.
Right there? In the middle?
The one’s they’ve put next to each other. I ran there and pulled both of them out. With her husband’s help, we tried very hard to pull her out but we couldn’t. We called out for help. Two more people came. We pulled her out. She was still alive on the way to the city of Islamabad but didn’t make it to the city.”
TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00
SOUNDBITE [Kurdish] Azim Azadi, Relief Worker: “On the day right after the quake when we buried the dead, three of my health contacts, my students who are the same age my children, came up to me said, “Mamosta! We did what you taught us to do. When the quake hit, we took shelter by the columns and in the door frame.
Of the five villages with 550 households and a population of 2,000, more than 100 we killed and 600 injured.
What have you done so far? And what are you going to do?
Here’s what. So far booklets have been made for the survivors in the village after four days. The Red Crescent sends them amenities every few days. According to our list and the booklets. But we expect their most important need which is permanent residence to be met as soon as possible.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Contractor: “Get your equipment ready for the extra 500 shelters. Increase each by 200: electrodes, angle grinder discs, masks, gloves and so on. 200 hundred each. I’ll be back soon. I’m putting you in charge.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Contractor & Installer: “- How many have you erected since this morning?
- Since this morning? I’d say…
- Is this the fifth one?
- Actually, it’s the fourth one.
- So it’s ready now for you toput in the nuts and bolts and make the adjustments.
- It’s sticking out a bit over there. It has to be pushed in a tad.
- You’re right. But we’re going to put in the bolts down here before that.
- Double-check the top, too. Bring your drill and bolt it up.
- Fetch me the drill.
- Good. That’s enough. Enough of that.
- Now push it into position. It’s perfect now. It looks good. Pick up that piece of wood. Go on! Tighten it.
-These two men! We call them for an electrician, they send one immediately.
A homeless woman who doesn’t have anyone to turn to, they’ve made her a home. They gave her a refrigerator from their own house. Her house was devastated.
He’s given away carpets, almost everything he had.
I wish you peace in life. I wish you and your families peace.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
We’re delighted to see you here.
It’s my pleasure. Help yourselves gentlemen.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Contractor: “This is one of the shelters completed today. But the prospective residents haven’t moved in completely yet.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Contractor & man: “- Hello?
- Come on in.
- Hello, sir. Please, be seated. Thank you.
- It was difficult before, but thank God, things have taken a turn for the better. These shelters are convenient.
- When did you move in?
- As a matter of fact we moved in today.
- The sole purpose is for everyone to have a temporary roof over their head against the cold and heat. Yes.
- Yeah, it’s a good thing just to have a shelter. Both the IRGC and the Army worked very hard. All our troops. And the general public. They really went out of their way to help.
- The things they’ve done for us, we’ll never forget.
- Please work in the same order as I told you.
- And that’s what we’ve been doing.
- But look at those tubes. Don’t waste them. We need them. We do.
-Since we produce them according to the numbers we’re given, they might run short.”
TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Azim Azadi, Relief Worker: “What we’re sitting in right now is a nomadic black tent. Our region is home to many nomads who live between summer and winter grasslands. And they live in these tents. Earthquakes are a strange thing. They make this horrific sound. And those mountains there, for several minutes after the main shock, we could here huge boulders crashes down from them which caused a lot of horror among us. They were a hellish few minutes that left people awe-struck and thinking there might be more powerful aftershocks that would kill those who’d survived. Because we know each other well and have a close relationship. I’m their clergyman and health representative, and I’d have to say they were very cooperative and I’m very pleased with that. We have doctors here, we have people with BA’s and AA’s. In a nutshell, with help from the village elders, council members and other brothers, we put together a local crisis management committee.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Man taking on the phone: “It’s pleasure to have you over. I didn’t catch your name!”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Azim Azadi, Relief Worker & philanthropists: “These gentlemen are philanthropists coming here all the way from Tehran. They are coming in droves to help those affected by the quake. I personally would like to thank them very much.
- Don’t mention it. We are expecting a cargo tomorrow. 10 to 12 Conex shelters. We’ll coordinate with you to hand them over to the people truly in need.
- Of course. I’ll make sure that happens.
Philanthropist: We don’t want to say who. But you could give them to women who have no one, families with ill members, and so on.
- I’ve already made a list of them in terms of priority. And I will do my best to…
- So we’ll deliver some of those shelters to you.
- Thank you very much.
- So we’re not going to take more of your time and going to take our leave.
Thanks for coming.
Thank you very much. Take care.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Children Singing : “I raise my little hand skyward to God,
And with my pure heart I’m going to pray to him,
I’ll say, O’ God the merciful, listen to my prayer,
I’m praying for my mother, for the happiness of my father,
Restore peace and quiet to our homes and faith to our hearts.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Contractor: “There’s a little girl who lives here by the name of Setareh. She lost all her family to the recent earthquake. Her father, mother and two sisters. Her family home was a few meters farther from here and was knocked down by the quake.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Contractor & Mr.Ahamdi & Setareh: “- Hello Mr. Ahmadi.
- Hello, engineer.
- How are you?
- I’m alright.
- How are you holding up? What’s going on, ma’am?
- Hello. What’s the matter?
- Come with me. Please.
- What’s going on? What’s wrong?
Hello! Hi! You scared me. I thought maybe…
- You had me worried about Setareh.
- What’s up?
- Hello. How’s it going? What’ve you been up to?
- I was studying.
- Studying? How are you? Has your school reopened?
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Contractor: “Uhuh. This is Setareh. A fourth grader who hadn’t had anything to do for like three days (when we found her). Her condition was urgent. We used our company ambulance to take her to the Red Crescent station. Before she arrived there, we made arrangements for her to be transferred to Kermanshah immediately. We didn’t hear from here for a while. We didn’t know where she was and what became of her. But because this village was in the area we were covering, I came here to look in on my colleagues who were removing rubble at the time. When I got here, a couple of those men working here came up to me and starting talking. I realized then that they were the same men who’d rescued her and taken her to Zarin-joob T intersection.”
CONVERSATION [Persian] Contractor & Setareh: “- So you were studying?
- Could you fetch your book?
- Let’s see what you are studying.
Since that day, I’ve been coming to visit her every afternoon, work allowing.”
TIME CODE: 45:00_52:11
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Maryam Maqsoodipoor, Team Leader At-Risk Children Association: “There’s a child in this room named Parjin whose father wouldn’t let her out of his sight for a minute because of what happened, because 27 members of her family members have died in the quake. He won’t let her participate in our programs at all.
- Parjin! I’m so glad you’ve come today. So your dad let you come here all by yourself today?
- Yeah? That’s great, isn’t it?
- The kids in our workshops today all said, “Please don’t go.” They didn’t want to see us gone.
- You open it and then close it.
- Ms.! Come back soon, OK?
-: What? We ARE going to come back. You bet. We’ll definitely come back.
- That’s a promise. Promise?
-: Promise! Promise! Promise!
- I really hope we’ll be able to visit these kids a few more times in the coming six months. Personally, it’s very difficult to break away. I think we’ve been able to put smiles on these kids’ lips in the past couple of days and distract them from the tragedy a little bit. And that’s all we came here for.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ali Jabbari, Kamanche Player: “No doubt I will be reminiscing about these past couple of days here, and the exchanges I’ve had with the children. This will forever be one of the most memorable journeys of my life despite all its difficulties.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Molaie, Deputy Commander: “In the immediate aftermath, the emergency management organization had a meeting in which army was put in charge of the city and the IRGC was tasked with attending to the villages.
The shelters come here from different places. Some sent by philanthropists, those provided by the ground force division of the military, and those supplied by the Ministry of Defense that number more than 300. And the army is tasked with organizing all of this.
As part of its operations, the Army has undertaken the supply of around 2,000 temp shelters for this area. And there’s been great interaction between the IRGC and the Army, the Red Crescent Society, the Housing Society. And that interaction has really helped speed things up for us. In other words, everyone has been making their contribution with pure devotion.
There are people who’ve lost two or three family members, and whose houses have been flattened. Still, they’ve been very patient and very kind to our troops. And that makes us feel even more responsible.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] |People at region: “-God be with you.
-We’ll never forget this. They shed tears with us, they empathized with us. That’s all we wanted. They’ve been great. They’ve done a really good job.
-His child was born recently but he hasn’t been home to see it.
- Yes, that’s right.
- No one would not go see their newborn baby for 16 days or longer. But he has done it. I mean, maybe no one else would.
- My kid was so scared, and was in my arms. Then they came and tried everything, they dug into their pockets and gave my kid whatever they could find to calm my kid down. I’ll never forget that moment.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian]Sadegh Ghassemi, Commander: “- If you showed them hundreds of tents hours before the quake, they wouldn’t have even looked at them. But when someone with all their pride and self-esteem turns to you for a tent (for his family), how can I go see my baby? This is my baby! I’ve just come back from home after a couple of days, but I swear to God, only my body was there. My soul and my heart were here. These are my kids.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] |People at region: “-You’ve really gone beyond duty. You’ve been very gallant. What you’ve done for us is big. It’s hard for us to see you leave. We’re going to miss you. I swear to God we’re going to cry for you.
- You are like a son to me.
- Thank you so much. I’m at your service.
- And to this land.
- God be with you. I have to say, I’m your servant.
I call him “father”. I hope he’ll live up to a 1,000 years. My own father is deceased. When he calls me “My girl”, I mean my father wasn’t around when it happened. I’m sure if he were, he’d have been here before anyone. But well,…”