Probe into build­ings col­lapsed by quake

Irish Examiner - - World News - Nasser Karimi and Mo­ham­mad Nasiri

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into why gov­ern­ment hous­ing built by his pre­de­ces­sor col­lapsed, while oth­ers with­stood an earth­quake near the bor­der with Iraq that killed hun­dreds of peo­ple.

In the Kur­dish town of Sar­pol-e-Za­hab, which was re­con­structed in the decades since the 1980s war with Iraq, the outer walls of build­ing com­plexes tum­bled away in the mag­ni­tude 7.3 earth­quake on Sun­day night.

The hous­ing was built as part of the Mehr — “kind­ness” — project of for­mer pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad.

Some now-home­less sur­vivors wept out­side while oth­ers an­grily showed As­so­ci­ated Press jour­nal­ists the de­struc­tion done by the quake.

“Other build­ings near our apart­ment are not dam­aged as much be­cause they were built pri­vately,” said Fer­dows Shah­bazi, 42, who lived in one of the Mehr build­ings.

Res­cuers used back­hoes and other heavy equip­ment to dig through top­pled build­ings in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab, home to more than half of the dead.

The apart­ment com­plexes sit next to lush pas­tures in the al­most en­tirely Kur­dish prov­ince of Ker­man­shah, nes­tled in the Za­gros Moun­tains along the bor­der with Iraq.

Searchers used dogs to comb the de­bris — just as they have since Iran’s 2003 earth­quake in Bam that killed 26,000 peo­ple.

The quake badly dam­aged the town’s hos­pi­tal, forc­ing the army to setup field clin­ics. The quake also re- port­edly killed an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of sol­diers in an army gar­ri­son.

Aside from the 530 peo­ple killed in Iran, 7,817 were in­jured, the state-run IRNA news agency re­ported.

Health min­is­ter Has­san Ghaz­izadeh Hashemi, who vis­ited Ker­man­shah yes­ter­day, warned the death toll prob­a­bly would rise.

Mr Rouhani in­spected the dam­age in the prov­ince and of­fered his sup­port.

“This was a pain for all Ira­ni­ans,” he said. “Rep­re­sent­ing the na­tion of Iran, I of­fer my con­do­lences to the peo­ple of Ker­man­shah and tell them that all of us are be­hind Ker­man­shah.”

For­eign min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif thanked coun­tries of­fer­ing to help but wrote on Twit­ter: “For now, we are able to man­age with our own re­sources.”

Also tour­ing the area was cleric Ab­dol­hos­sein Moezi, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Moezi said there was a need for more re­lief ma­te­rial and “se­cu­rity”.

The quake hit about 19 miles out­side the east­ern Iraqi city of Hal­abja, ac­cord­ing to the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, and struck 14 miles be­low the sur­face, a some­what shal­low depth that can cause broader dam­age.

Seven peo­ple were killed in Iraq and 535 were in­jured, all in the coun­try’s north­ern, semi-au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion, ac­cord­ing to its In­te­rior Min­istry.

The quake was cent red about 31km out­side the east­ern Iraqi city of Hal­abja, ac­cord­ing to the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, and struck 23.2km be­low the sur­face, a some­what shal­low depth that can cause broader dam­age.

Pic­tures: Vahid Salemi/AP

An earth­quake sur­vivor sits on de­bris in front of her house in a com­pound, which was built un­der the Mehr state-owned pro­gramme, in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab in western Iran yes­ter­day. Iran’s pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani says his ad­min­is­tra­tion will probe the cause of so much dam­age to build­ings con­structed un­der the state-owned pro­gramme af­ter a pow­er­ful earth­quake hit the area along the bor­der with Iraq on Sun­day which killed over 530 peo­ple.

Res­cuers carry away the body of an earth­quake vic­tim.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.