Earthquake Response shows Iranians’ Nationalism, Mistrust of Authorities

The donations transferred to these two prominent figures were beyond what most probably imagined. In a Facebook post Nov. 21, Zibakalam said he had collected 23 billion rials ($652,850) in donations up until then. He also added that the figure was rising and noted that because the donations had exceeded his expectations, he would personally travel to Kermanshah to assess the situation at hand. Daei also posted a video message on Instagram Nov. 21 and said, “[To this point], 15 trucks and trailers carrying nonmonetary aid have been dispatched to the victims. Also, 62.8 billion rials [$1.78 million] have been donated.”

Yet regardless of the massive public support, there were still many difficulties in providing relief efforts for the victims. The huge number of people that had opted to personally help the victims resulted in the aid not always being distributed in a logical, just and coordinated manner.

Fahime Hassanmiri, a journalist covering social affairs who traveled to Kermanshah to report on the situation firsthand, told Al-Monitor, “In some instances, you could see a lack of coordination in assisting the victims. Those villages that received more media coverage also got much more aid than needed, while there were shortages of tents and blankets in other villages. I also had a chance to see the Red Crescent in action and saw their management and organization in helping the victims.

However, the persistence of [ordinary] people in personally sending donations through trusted figures or those they knew in the region not only created difficulties in aid distribution but also caused massive traffic jams on the roads leading to these villages, and so what normally was a half-hour drive took several hours because of the traffic.”

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