On 28 August, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Azerbaijan, primarily affecting the regions of Lerik and Lankaran. Meydan TV spoke with a resident of Lerik who is asking the authorities for help after his home was severely damaged.
“The earthquake destroyed our house,” Fagani Jahangirov told Meydan TV. “A representative of the executive authorities of our village came and inspected it. He said we couldn’t live here, that it was not fit to live in. Then he left and that was it. Nobody else visited us after that.”
The 35-year-old resident of the village of Babakuja says that he can’t afford the major repairs that his house requires. “I’m an electrical engineer. My salary is 200 manats (
about $118 per month
). I get 170 manats ($100) after tax. On this money I support a family of five. I have three little kids. My elderly mother lives with us, too…. We can barely afford food. Where can we get the money for repairs? If the government helps us, great, but if not, we’ll be on the street, that’s it.”
Jahangirov says that earlier earthquakes had left cracks in their house, which was built in 1972, but he couldn’t remember one of such magnitude. This time the damage was severe, and one of the rooms completely collapsed. “God had mercy on us and we were not at home when the earthquake happened. Otherwise, the children would have been seriously injured.”
Meydan TV contacted the Lerik Regional Executive Authority for comment. A representative said that the Executive Authority had received numerous appeals from people who had cracks in their homes or whose homes collapsed in the earthquake. “The people you are talking about should also appeal to us. We receive appeals and then inspect those houses. The region’s Emergencies Commission sends the appeals about houses that are really unsafe to the Emergencies Ministry. They provide the appropriate help to those citizens. Now, I don’t know if they would provide money for the construction of a new house or for repairs. I’m not sure about that. The commission should first visit that house and issue a conclusion.”
For now, Fagani Jahangirov and his family are making do as best they can. “There’s a small shed in our courtyard in which we keep extra things,” Jahangirov said. “Our whole family is living in it following the earthquake. But this is a mountain area, you know the kind of rains we have here. In a couple of weeks, it’ll become hard to live in the courtyard, too. The children need a warm home.”