Relief takes on another face in Bam, Iran.

By February 12, 2004

Iran (FH/MNN)–Survivors of Bam, Iran’s December quake are just beginning to realize a state of shock. The quake claimed 40-thousand lives, and left thousands more homeless, leaving the city in ruins.

Food for the Hungry staff and partners in Iran continue relief distributions with an eye toward meeting both physical and spiritual needs.

FH’s Beth Allen says the healing is slow in coming. “It hits them very hard that there are people that are absent from their lives, that there are places that are absent from their lives. It hits them that their life will never return to normal, even though they have resumed what could be called a normal routine.”

The international relief effort brings together Iranians, Koreans, Japanese and North Americans who have teamed up to help quake survivors through the difficult early days of the disaster. Many of the homeless are living in tents in the midst of harsh winter weather.

Distributions have included shoes and winter clothing, hygiene kits (soap, dental care items, laundry detergent), canned food, school supplies, and fruits and vegetables. While a few of the goods arrived in country via airlift, FH is purchasing many items locally in the provincial captial of Kerman.

FH’s Japanese team provided school supplies at a school operating at the Baravat tent village. The locally-purchased school kits included pencils, a pencil kit, a sharpener, a notebook, and a bag to hold all the supplies. “Students did not have school supplies until we distributed them,” reports Japan FH staff member Hirohisa Seike, who helped distribute the items. “The teachers were extremely thankful to have them.”

Allen says they did something unusual in the course of their relief effort. This time, teams set up several pieces of playground equipment. “Play is very important for children. It’s a very important part of their emotional development. This allows the children to have normal interaction with their friends in a time when normal interaction has really been disrupted.”

The FH team also read postcards that Japanese children sent with words of comfort for the Iranian children. Allen says this was significant as the Japanese children had survived a serious quake a couple of years ago, so the encouraging messages were sent from one survivor to another.

Through their efforts with humanitarian relief and development, Food For The Hungry seeks to be the hands and feet of Christ to the hurting Iranians.

Leave a Reply