TEHRAN, June 6 (MNA) – Death is capricious these days. With every motion, every tremor, people jump up like burning rue. Hearts begin to beat fast. People tremble all over.

The horrifying image of death looms up before their eyes. It seems they are waiting for something to happen: some incident, some natural disaster, which may finish them off for good or separate them from their loved ones for the rest of their lives and dash their long-cherished hopes. This is normally what people refer to as an act of God, an irresistible phenomenon, the philosophical cause of which transcends human comprehension. Some may call it a divine test.


Others may attribute it to some supernatural inescapable powers which exist in nature. Be it a divine test or some supernatural power, it is bound to happen. It’s a reality. So let’s face it. But, is there any way out of this breath-taking plight?


Seismologists are trying to determine the exact time and date of a probable earthquake in Tehran. They often predict the date or even the exact time of an earthquake and even demand that people leave their houses and flock to safe cities or places where they may remain secure from the earth-shattering disaster. How well they strike fear into the hearts of people! Almost every day, we hear that some part of the country has been struck by an earthquake measuring such-and-such a degree on the Richter scale. Men die. Women die. Children die. The horror of the matter becomes evident when one hears that all the members of a family have been killed by an earthquake with only a little child surviving. These are the realities which harrow people with fear and wonder.


Over five months have passed since the deadly Bam earthquake which devastated the ancient Iranian city, leaving at least 28,000 dead and 30,000 injured. The claws of death are still bleeding. The destructive aftermath of the disaster still rankles in the memories of the survivors. A large number lost their homes. Lots of children have lost their parents and are unattended. It will take them years to make up for what they have lost or to reconcile with their new situation.


Yet, the catastrophic earthquake, which is threatening to shake Tehran is far more horrific and the havoc it may incur is a thousand times worse. People living in the poor areas of the city are more vulnerable. Their houses are not strong enough to resist an earthquake. Even a small jolt could demolish them in the twinkling of an eye, with rubble falling on their heads.


Isn’t it time officials seriously considered the matter and adopted proactive measures to minimize the number of victims? As for the new buildings, most of them reveal structural defects. Easy money and greed were the two factors tempting many contractors to construct buildings with minimal thought to safety and long-term factors. To crown it all, disaster management in the country is way below international standards.


In emergencies, prudence does count. The media have a very important role to play in these troubled times. Instead of intensifying the feelings of fear and discomfort, they should do something useful. They should start educational programs on how to cope with this unpredictable phenomenon and how to manage the crisis. Earthquakes are bound to occur in Tehran and other parts of the country. People should be given wise instructions on how to tackle the situation. Houses should be quakeproofed as soon as possible. Officials should cut through the red tape and take proactive measures to minimize the number of victims or they may have to sit and lament the death of thousands or millions of people.






News Code 6141

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