Iran: Normality slowly returns to Bam
Three hookah water pipes rattle in competition, the
smell of perfumed tobacco is in the air. Green apples vanishing in grey light
clouds. Behind palm twigs time stands still. At Mohammed's place you find sweet
tea, cool shadows and rest.
Everywhere in Bam,
prefabricated homes are
springing up amidst the
rubble and in camps
Less than three metres away, the traffic rushes
by. A battered car creaks over the dusty road. A collapsing wall has crumpled
the passenger door, and now there is a sheet of plastic where a window used to
be. A heavy truck laden with debris roars by. The tea in the glass
Bam is on the road to recovery.
Traders hawk their goods:
shoes from China, fresh melons and colourful soft-drinks. At traffic junctions,
stalls have sprouted like mushrooms, especially since the Iranian Red Crescent
Society (IRCS) switched from food relief to cash distributions.
It is time to rebuild Bam.
are searching for bricks
they can use again
The owner of the hookah
pipes and tea house looks out over the heads of his guests to the road. In the
corner of his cabin an ancient TV crackles and flickers. Cars outside hoot their
way free of the jam.
"What traffic," sighs the landlord. And he is happy about it. For a
long time there had been silence in Bam.
Tens of thousands of people
died, 85 per cent of all buildings were destroyed. For months the entire city
has been traumatized. There is still much work for the IRCS psychosocial support
teams and aid-workers. But normality, while still far off, is returning more
rapidly than before.
The destroyed city of Bam is changing. Everywhere
bulldozers are roaring to clear millions of tons of rubble.
government is working closely with NGOs and UN agencies to erect temporary
prefabricated housing for 22,000 families in camps and amongst the ruins of the
former buildings. The Republic of Korea Red Cross is building 100 prefabs.
According to the authorities the last families will move from tents into the
prefabs by the end of this month.
It is an important goal, because heat
and sandstorms constitute a heavy burden for the population. Nahid Nikzadeh
knows this only too well. The 35-year-old often has to go out at night when
sandstorms pull at the tarpaulins and threatened to overturn her tent. Now there
is a small but new one-room house on her property.
The government is building
temporary prefabs in Bam
Its 20 square meters offers just enough
space for her husband, three-year-old twins and herself to sleep in. The family
also received a room cooler and a refrigerator. From the ceiling a naked bulb
There is no comparison between this temporary pre-fabricated
house and the big two-storey building the family owned before the quake. But
Nahid Nikzadeh is happy to have a roof over her head again.
"Unfortunately the children fear that everything will collapse, if a new
earthquake hits the city. And not too long ago we had a quite strong quake," she
As long as rubble remains in front of her new home, she is
unable to forget the disaster. The elegant marble floor of her former living
room, which remains intact, reminds her of what the family once owned. It
contrasts starkly with the dreary heap of ruins which stand out against the blue
of the sky.
Nahid Nikazadeh does not want to complain. "Many others lost
more than we did. The house is destroyed and maybe we will never be able to
rebuild it to its old size. But both of my children and my husband are alive.
What is most important is that my family is well," the 35-year-old says as she
hangs out freshly-washed clothes.
"There is one good thing to come out of
the earthquake - all the neighbours have stuck together. In these bad times we
have found many real friends," she adds.
In Gullestan Camp the
International Federation have
connected showers and latrines
to the water supply
It is difficult for Zahra Vahedi to find
words of comfort. While she and her husband survived the terrible night of 26
December, both of her children were buried under the rubble. The disaster seems
to have turned the 35-year-old into an old woman.
Now she lives with her
husband in the Gullestan Camp. Prefabricated houses are lined up. In front of
each unit a big blue cooler shuffles cold air into the rooms. At the back, every
unit has its own shower/latrine. For her, the IRCS, supported by the Federation,
has provided a connection to the city water supply system.
the city you can see the Red Crescent aid workers. After the quake the IRCS
supported the whole city, distributed tents, blankets, heaters, food, kitchen
sets, cooling boxes, hygiene kits and many other items.
Now the time for
reconstruction has come and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement will play its
part in building the new Bam.
"The Iranian Red Crescent, supported by
the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, is working on a plan to
rehabilitate and reconstruct the health care, education and social welfare
infrastructure of Bam. The plan will also include rebuilding IRCS facilities
which were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake," says Mohammed Mukhier, the
Head of Federations Iran delegation.
"At the moment, the Red Crescent
field hospital is still the only operational hospital providing emergency and
medical care for the people in Bam."
It is hard for Zahra Vahedi to
imagine a future in Bam. "Our house is completely destroyed. I do not know if we
can ever rebuild it, even with credit from the government. Even if we can, I
will always fear another earthquake for the rest of my life. But we have no
money to leave the city," she explains in a low voice.
There is a lot of
work to be done to convince Zahra Vahedi that there is a future waiting for her
... Payvand News - 5/20/04 ... --