Iran ends res­cue op­er­a­tions as ma­jor earth­quake kills 530

Global Times - - World -

Ira­nian of­fi­cials called off res­cue op­er­a­tions, say­ing there was lit­tle chance of find­ing more sur­vivors from the earth­quake that shook parts of western Iran on Sun­day, killing at least 530 peo­ple, state me­dia said on Tues­day.

Sur­vivors, many left home­less by the 7.3 mag­ni­tude earth­quake that struck vil­lages and towns in a moun­tain­ous area bor­der­ing Iraq, bat­tled overnight tem­per­a­tures just above freez­ing and faced an­other bleak day on Tues­day in need of food and wa­ter.

The death toll of 530, re­ported by state news agency IRNA, made it Iran’s dead­li­est earth­quake in more than a decade. Thou­sands of peo­ple were in­jured and 30,000 homes dam­aged. Two whole vil­lages were de­stroyed.

The quake struck on the Iran-Iraq bor­der, caus­ing most of its dam­age in Iran de­spite an epi­cen­ter on the Iraq side of the fron­tier. Iraqi of­fi­cials said seven peo­ple were killed and 325 in­jured in Iraq, all in the north­ern Kur­dish prov­inces.

Iran’s Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani ar­rived in the morn­ing in the stricken area in Ker­man­shah prov­ince and promised that the gov­ern­ment would “use all its power to re­solve the prob­lems in the short­est time.”

Thou­sands of peo­ple hud­dled in makeshift camps while many oth­ers chose to spend a sec­ond night in the open, de­spite low tem­per­a­tures, be­cause they feared more tremors af­ter some 193 af­ter­shocks, state tele­vi­sion said.

A home­less young woman in Sar­pol-e Za­hab, one of the hard­est-hit towns, told state TV that her fam­ily was ex­posed to the night cold be­cause of lack of tents.

“We need help. We need ev­ery­thing. The au­thor­i­ties should speed up their help,” she said.

TV showed res­cue work­ers comb­ing through the rub­ble of dozens of vil­lages im­me­di­ately af­ter the quake.

But by Tues­day morn­ing Ira­nian of­fi­cials said there was no longer any like­li­hood of find­ing sur­vivors and called the res­cue off.

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