The devastating November 2017 Kermanshah earthquake demanded expanded cooperation within the Federation. At magnitude 7.3, the earthquake was the strongest in Iran in 20 years. The government did not request an international appeal, but directed voluntary contributions to the Iran Red Crescent Society (IRCS) as a leading agency in responding to the needs of the most vulnerable. The resulting 2018 operational plan was used to document the overall national society response, as well as serve as a vehicle for international contributions. The 2019 plan continues in this vein, providing support to earthquake-affected populations in their ongoing recovery needs, as well as supporting the development of related IRCS capacities.
With over 80 million people, the Islamic Republic of Iran is the second most populous and economically powerful country in MENA, with the 18th largest economy globally. With major faults covering at least 90% of the country, Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world. Minor tremors occur daily and major earthquakes are frequent and destructive: On average more than 160,000 people are exposed annually to earthquakes above magnitude 6--highest in the region and 8th highest in the world (INFORM 2017 database). The 6.6 magnitude 2003 Bam earthquake killed upwards of 40,000 people, injured another 30,000 and displaced as many as 75,000. With two coastlines, seismic activity runs an attendant risk of tsunami. In addition to these seismic hazards, agriculture and related livelihoods are particularly affected by cycles of flood and drought. Almost 1.2M people are affected by drought annually--the highest in the region.
In response to natural disasters, the IRCS is mandated to carry out search and rescue, provide relief, shelter, food, non-food items and administer emergency health. As part of the Government National Disaster Management apparatus, other Government entities assume their respective responsibilities, including Housing Foundation, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health.