Skip to main content

Iranian teachers fill gap between state, society after floods

Teachers in Iran have played an important role in relief efforts in the wake of recent flooding, shining a light on the impact of Iranians' mistrust of the state.
Damaged vehicles are seen after a flash flooding in Shiraz, Iran, March 26, 2019. Tasnim News Agency/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC16EE5DB1C0

Although governments are responsible for dealing with natural disasters, individual and collective relief efforts by citizens cannot be overlooked. Indeed, the effectiveness of private relief endeavors in past decades in Iran has paved the way for more and better public engagement in humanitarian efforts, most notably through NGOs. The devastating flooding last month in northeastern and southwestern Iran is a reminder of how the socio-cultural context of Iranian society has long fostered a tendency to come to the aid of fellow citizens affected by natural disasters.

The participation in relief efforts by celebrities, artists, athletes and politicians as well as various social, political and civil groups and guild associations reflects the humanitarian sentiment found across Iranian society. Along with the recent flooding, in which dozens were killed and the damage is estimated at around $2.5 billion, another event illustrative of eliciting individual and organized action is the 2017 earthquake in western Kermanshah province that left hundreds dead and major destruction in towns and villages.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.