Update on Assistance to Victims of Iran’s Earthquake
We strive to be the credible voice of the Iranian American community. We are PAAIA.
As we await a response from the Office of Foreign Asset’s (OFAC) to the letter submitted by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and a coalition of other Iranian American organizations, we take this opportunity to update you on the status of aid to the victims of the recent earthquake in Iran.
Situation in Iran According to an update posted by Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), survey teams have arrived in the area, where nearly 40 villages have been destroyed and left over 300 people dead and 3,000 injured, to determine the extent of the damage and determine next steps. Though there seem to be sufficient blankets, shelter, and food for the survivors, there is significant need for supplies and funds for reconstruction efforts, which have not begun. The Iranian government had initially refused any offers of foreign aid; however, on August 15, 2012 the government said that it would welcome such assistance.
Support from U.S. Government This comes in the wake of a statement of condolence posted by the White House, comments from State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, that humanitarian aid was allowed under the US sanctions, and guidelines issued by OFAC to clarify the provision of this type of assistance. However, numerous relief organizations continue to wait for the issuance of the general licenses they require to provide assistance to the earthquake’s victims. It is our understanding that one such organization, Relief International (noted below) has obtained its license and is prepared to accept donations at this time.
Relief Organizations Numerous Iranian American organizations, such as PAAIA, are working, both independently and collaboratively to urge OFAC and the administration to expedite the issuance of needed licenses to relief organizations.
In the meantime, following is a list of organizations that have provided aid to the victims of previous earthquakes in Iran and who have communicated with PAAIA that they will accept donations for the victims of the most recent earthquake.
Relief International Relief International is a Los Angeles-based development agency that is registered with US Agency for International Development and is an implementing partner of the United Nations in disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies. Relief International personnel were dispatched to Iran following the earthquake in Bam to provide aid directly to the earthquake victims.
Relief International has received a license from OFAC to expand its work in Iran to the victims of the earthquake in northwestern Iran. Relief International often makes the funds raised on a daily basis available for local procurement of urgently needed relief items. Providing relief to the families most impacted by the earthquake and returning them to safety and security amidst the winter conditions is Relief International’s priority.
Donations to Relief International for the victims of the recent earthquake may be made online.
American Red Cross The American Red Cross has worked with its partner national societies to assist the victims of the previous earthquake in Iran. They are accepting monetary donations to support earthquake relief efforts in Iran.
Donations to the American Red Cross can be made online.
Child Foundation has reported that it has shipped its first shipment to the earthquake area. It is hopeful that the issuance of an OFAC license will allow the organization to use its offices in Tabriz, Orumieh, and Ardebil, to send out more supplies and materials to the victims.
Donations to the Tabriz Emergency Earthquake Fund can be made online.