Flood Relief for Iranian People

IranFlood.jpg
 

Flood Relief for Iranian People

More than 20 people have died and hundreds are injured after heavy rains cause severe flooding across Iran—triggering flash floods, landslides, and blocked roads. More heavy rains are on the way—action must be taken now to help the victims.

Sanction Exemption Needed Now

To get quick and needed aid to Iran requires an exemption to sanctions. Otherwise, more people will die. Pres. George W. Bush declared such an exemption in 2003 following the Bam earthquake. Similar bi-partisan action is desperately needed today. Contact your Senators and member of the House of Representatives now to encourage this vital exemption to sanctions.

How to send emails to Congress

Step 1: Find the contact information for your Senators and member of the House of Representatives:

Find Your Representative

Find Your Senator

Step 2: Use the following sample letter below as a guide to composing your own. You may copy and paste it in an email and make changes there. Make sure you address each separate email you send correctly to your Senators or member of the House of Representatives (the sample has information for both the House and the Senate. Do not include both in your email.)

Step 3: Follow up, if you wish, by calling your Senators or Representative’s offices and letting them know the importance and urgency of this request. Phone calls have great impact. You may also wish to fax your letter or send a hard copy in the mail with your signature.

Step 4: Remember now is not the time for criticism of government policies or personalities. The key is to appeal for sanction exemptions for humanitarian aid.

SAMPLE EMAIL TO CONGRESS:

Date
The Honorable (Full Name)
House (or Senate) Office Building
United States House of Representatives/United State Senate
Washington, DC (20515 for House, 20510 for Senate)

Dear Representative/Senator (Last Name):

I am writing to share with you our community's grave concerns about the catastrophic floods in Iran and to request that you take all reasonable steps to facilitate disaster relief and humanitarian aid to victims of the flooding—including implementing sanctions exemptions.

Following unprecedented rainfall across over 25 provinces, Iran is in the grips of a humanitarian disaster. The images of people, cars, homes being swept away in these torrents are harrowing. Entire villages have disappeared under the floods. In some areas, such as Kermanshah, victims who were still recovering from earthquakes have had to abandon their tent cities, with all their belongings, for the safety of higher ground.

Meteorologists are predicting more rainfall in the weeks ahead raising grave concerns about the collapse of dams. Entire populations are at risk.

As you may recall, following the Bam earthquake in 2003, President Bush directed Treasury Secretary Snow and State Department Secretary Powell "to ease restrictions to assist humanitarian relief activities for earthquake victims in Iran." In response the Treasury announced that the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), together with other government agencies, would take extraordinary steps to expedite disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the devastating earthquake."

Secretary Snow understood that getting aid to those affected by the earthquake was a top priority. He stated that "We understand the need to speed up the process allowing nongovernmental organizations to help the people devastated by the earthquake in Iran."

The authorizations and expedited procedure included "the issuance of a general license (not requiring any application to, or further specific authorization from OFAC), authorizing cash donations to nongovernmental organizations to be used for disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the earthquake." Please see below for full text of President Bush's authorization.

After the Bam earthquake, the United States government airlifted over 150,000 pounds in medical supplies to Iran. The Red Cross and a host of other NGOs, also raised funds to provide relief goods such as family tents, plastic sheeting, kitchen utensils, purification tablets, electricity generations and kerosene heaters, as well as trucks and food.

Many NGOs and foundations are in a position to respond to emergency situations following natural disasters with disaster relief. For example, in September 2014, after monsoon rains and flash floods in Pakistan and India killed 500 people and threatened over 2 million, destroying millions of acres of fertile cropland and thousands of cattle, such organizations were able to launch coordinated emergency intervention. They provided flood victims with everything from food to seeds helped thousands recover their livelihood.

We recognize that the political rift between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran is not easily overcome. Yet, as President Trump and members of both parties have repeatedly affirmed, there is no hostility between the American and Iranian people. As with the Bam earthquake, we believe the floods in Iran call upon us to unite as a people to recognize the humanity of the Iranian people and extend the hand of friendship to the victims of the floods. Let us not forget that after 9/11, the people of Iran spontaneously lit candles in solidarity with Americans following the September 11 attacks.

We urge you and members of your congressional delegation to respond to this tragic situation much as we did after the Bam Earthquake. President Trump has repeatedly affirmed the fact that we stand by the Iranian people. In this, their hour of need, with disaster after disaster unfolding in the wake of historic floods, let us demonstrate the true nature and sources of our abundance as a people: our compassion. Let us sow the seeds of good will across Iran, and let us trust that the harvest will protect all our children against the afflictions of time for generations to come.

Thank you for your leadership on this matter.

Sincerely,

Your Full Name
Address
Phone Number
Email Address

Restrictions Eased After Bam Earthquake

STEPS TAKEN BY TREASURY AFTER BAM EARTHQUAKE IN 2003

Victims In Iran: Treasury Eases Restrictions To Assist Humanitarian Relief Activities For Earthquake Victims In Iran

12/31/2003

President Bush directed Treasury Secretary Snow and State Department Secretary Powell to ease restrictions to assist humanitarian relief activities for earthquake victims in Iran. Today the Treasury Department announced that the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") is taking extraordinary steps along with the Department of State and USAID to expedite disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran.

"We understand the need to speed up the process allowing nongovernmental organizations to help the people devastated by the earthquake in Iran. Getting aid to those so greatly affected by this devastating earthquake is a top priority," stated Treasury Secretary John Snow.

The following authorizations and expedited procedures are being instituted today:

• Issuance of a General License (not requiring any application to, or further specific authorization from OFAC) authorizing cash donations to nongovernmental organizations to be used for disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the earthquake;

• Authorization to carry out humanitarian relief activities in Iran of any nongovernmental organization registered with, funded by, or under contract with the State Department/USAID;

• In response to applications, immediate issuance of specific licenses to nongovernmental organizations not covered above previously authorized to engage in humanitarian activities in Afghanistan or countries currently subject to economic sanctions to carry out humanitarian relief activities in Iran;

• Expedited issuance of specific licenses to nongovernmental organizations not previously authorized by OFAC to engage in humanitarian activities in countries subject to economic sanctions.

The OFAC Licensing Division will remain open tomorrow, January 1, 2004, to ensure that licenses are issued as quickly as possible under the above criteria and that telephone inquiries are answered to address any questions or concerns that may arise.

 
Michael De Groote