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Iranians Are Outraged Over Shoddy Construction in Earthquake Zone

“The experts came yesterday and did an assessment,” he said, pointing at the wreckage. “If the old building hadn’t stood next to it, supporting the structure, the new wing would have collapsed. It needs to be demolished.”

Some hospital employees said the engineer responsible for the construction had been arrested, but Mr. Biglari did not want to confirm that. “There will be a court case for sure,” he said.

The building had been constructed by a unit of the Housing Ministry, said Mr. Ghanbari, the clerk. He shook his head.

“It’s unimaginable,” he said. “There is a massive earthquake, and this the one place that should be safe. How can they let this happen?”

In signs of growing criticism against not only the shoddy building but also the speed of aid efforts, a local member of Parliament spoke out in an angry interview with the semiofficial news agency ILNA.

The parliament member, Ahmad Safari, from Kermanshah Province in western Iran, said he believed the number of dead may be roughly double the the official toll.

“In my opinion, more than 1,000 people lost their lives,” Mr. Safari was quoted by ILNA as saying. “Seventy people were killed only in one street in Sarpol-e-Zahab. More than 250 people were killed in the Mehr apartments,” he said, referring to badly built housing complexes for the poor.

Mr. Safari also criticized what he called the lack of relief supplies for the victims. “Unfortunately, aid has not yet been distributed to all villages, perhaps only 10 percent of the villages have tents,” he was quoted as saying.

Source: NYT > World

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