Iran ends rescue operations in quake-hit areas
ANKARA: Iran said yesterday that rescue operations have ended in areas hit by a powerful weekend earthquake that killed at least 530 people and injured thousands, state television reported.
“The rescue operations in the (western) Kermanshah province have ended,” Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services, said on state TV.
Sunday’s 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck villages and towns in the mountainous area of Kermanshah province that borders Iraq while many people were at home asleep. At least 14 provinces in Iran were affected.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in the morning in the earthquake-stricken area in Kermanshah and promised that the government “will use all its power to resolve the problems in the shortest time”.
More than 30,000 houses in the area were damaged and at least two villages were completely destroyed, Iranian authorities said.
State television said thousands were huddling in makeshift camps while many others spent a second night in the open for fear of more tremors to come after some 193 aftershocks.
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 chill because of lack of tents.
“It is a very cold night... we need help. We need everything. The authorities should speed up their help,” she said.
Iranian police, the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia forces were dispatched to affected areas on Sunday night.
Iran’s Red Crescent said emergency shelter had been provided for thousands of homeless people, but a lack of water and electricity as well as blocked roads in some areas hindered aid supply efforts. Reuters
Victims of the earthquake looking for their belongings in Pole-Zahab in Kermanshah Province, Iran, on Monday.