Dealing with another potential disaster in Bam, Iran.

By January 14, 2004

Iran (MNN)–The latest assessments from Bam, Iran show the hardest hit area and outlying villages have deficiencies posing major health risks.

Despite daily visits by water trucks delivering drinking water, locals have little left over for washing or sanitation. World Vision sounded the alert, with program officer Debs Harris, warning that unless there was immediate action, humanitarian agencies and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) would face a serious outbreak of water-borne disease.

Aid agencies are scrambling to respond, including Food For the Hungry. While their assessment teams were on the ground, they saw the dire predicament.

Food for the Hungry’s Beth Allen says they’re handing out hygiene kits to help people keep themselves clean, along with emergency supplies, and food. “We realize and recognize, along with other organizations, that there is a potential for outbreaks of waterborne diseases and other diseases, as well. One of the things we will be doing is continuing to provide these hygiene kits so that people can keep themselves clean. Washing your hands with soap and water goes a long way to preventing disease.”
Because they’re meeting a self-esteem need, Allen says the kits help teams share the hope that comes from Christ. “Being dirty is no fun. It’s not completely about taking care of food and water and hygiene. It’s also how do you take care of a person’s emotional and spiritual life.”

Whenever possible, FHI provides aid through local partnerships with established like-minded groups. In Iran, this means working with Elam Ministries, which supports the larger Christian community in its desire to aid quake victims.

FHI is now in discussions with the Elam to clarify the vision and strengths of each in order to be jointly involved in priority areas where Elam Ministries has adequate level of expertise.

FHI is committed to supporting the Christian community as it reaches out to fellow Iranians with compassion, skill, and cultural sensitivity in the rebuilding both the shattered city and the shattered people of Bam.
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