Quake sur­vivors spend night in the open

The Free Press Journal - - WORLD -

Tens of thou­sands of Ira­ni­ans spent a sec­ond night in the open af­ter a 7.3-mag­ni­tude quake struck near the bor­der with Iraq, killing more than 400 peo­ple, re­ports AFP.

Res­i­dents who had fled their homes when Sun­day’s quake rocked the moun­tain­ous re­gion span­ning Iran’s western prov­ince of Ker­man­shah and neigh­bour­ing Iraqi Kur­dis­tan braved chilly tem­per­a­tures as au­thor­i­ties strug­gled to get aid into the quake zone.

Iran has de­clared Tues­day a na­tional day of mourn­ing as of­fi­cials out­lined the most press­ing pri­or­i­ties and de­scribed the lev­els of de­struc­tion in some parts as “to­tal”.

Pres­i­dent Hassan Rouhani vis­ited the city of Ker­man­shah on Tues­day and promised that the gov­ern­ment would move swiftly to help those left home­less by the dis­as­ter.

“I want to as­sure those who are suf­fer­ing that the gov­ern­ment has be­gun to act with all means at its dis­posal and is scram­bling to resolve this prob­lem as quickly as pos­si­ble,” he said. The head of the elite Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards, Ma­jor Gen­eral Mo­ham­mad Ali Ja­fari, said the im­me­di­ate need was for tents, wa­ter and food.

“Newly con­structed build­ings... held up well, but the old houses built with earth were to­tally de­stroyed,” he told state tele­vi­sion dur­ing a visit to the af­fected re­gion.

The toll in Iran stood at 413 dead and 6,700 in­jured, while across the bor­der in more sparsely pop­u­lated ar­eas of Iraq, the health min­istry said eight peo­ple had died and sev­eral hun­dred were in­jured. Iraq’s Red Cres­cent put the toll at nine dead.

Of­fi­cials said they were set­ting up re­lief camps for the dis­placed and that 22,000 tents, 52,000 blan­kets and tonnes of food and wa­ter had been dis­trib­uted.

AFP

An Ira­nian lies atop mat­tresses out­side dam­aged build­ings near the Iraq bor­der.

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