By Paul Sanford
On Boxing Day 2003, a massive earthquake struck Bam at 5.26 in the morning. About 50,000 people were killed, and many thousands injured. The most famous city walls in the world, the Bam citadel or Arg, 2500 years old, were very badly damaged.
later, there is so much evidence of what happened in those few seconds. Some buildings are left as they stood on
that morning, collapsed and useless.
Others are being slowly repaired.
All around there are containers and portable buildings, which people are
living in and trying to continue life from. The tents and the immediate aid have
disappeared but long term help has been slow to materialise. There are some new projects being built
by outside agencies. Some new
buildings have been constructed, and some are awaiting completion. The population of the city has increased
massively as many people have moved to get work here, putting further strain on
a weakened infrastructure. The
citadel is being slowly rebuilt with international help, but many peoples lives
were wrecked on that day, with permanent injuries.
Naghshineh and his company, the Targetfollow Group, in a joint
project with Operation Mercy, a
Swedish charity organisation are constructing a centre and adjoining business
unit and an internet café to help people with spinal cord injuries to lead a
more normal life and help them raise money for the centre. The Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation
is assisting with this project.
Reza Memary is 38 years old and says that he was sleeping when the earthquake hit and a steel roof beam fell on his back. It broke his spine and severed his spinal cord. He had spine surgery and had a platinum rod inserted in his back. He is paralysed from the waist down.
“I lost my wife, child, mother, father, brother and two sisters with their children. This was apart from the other relatives that I lost in the earthquake”, he says.
He was a baker before the earthquake, but now he is jobless and has no source of income. Reza lives with his younger sister now and he wishes he could walk and go to work again.
He has had
bedsores and sores on his heels for the past 25 months and wasn’t able to attend
Operation Mercy classes. He says
that he needs special medicine for his bedsores and also a water heater for the
Hassan Afsari is from
His uncle, and two daughters-in-law died in the earthquake, and he lost so many other relatives. His father died before the earthquake and he doesn’t have any source of income. Hassan attended the Operation Mercy glim (carpet - kilim) weaving classes but he couldn’t continue because of his bed sores.
People who were
severely injured in the earthquake not only lost their homes and loved ones but
are now facing the future with permanent disabilities, making it difficult to
find a livelihood. The Imam
Reza Spinal Cord Injury Centre caters to more than 300 patients. Most are outpatients who visit the
centre for physiotherapy and other help as needed. Operation Mercy is also working with the
20 plus inpatients living at the centre.
They are coordinating training projects in sewing, computer skills and
handicrafts. English classes are also offered to the inpatients and their family
Together with the new building the Spinal Cord Injury Centre is providing many with hope, skills training and a means of supporting themselves in the future.
... Payvand News - 2/6/07 ... --