Death count in Iran quake reaches 430

The Myanmar Times - - World -

RES­CUE work­ers yes­ter­day used back­hoes and heavy equip­ment to dig through the de­bris of build­ings top­pled by a pow­er­ful earth­quake on the bor­der be­tween Iran and Iraq, with weep­ing women cry­ing out to god as aid work­ers found new bod­ies.

The quake killed 430 peo­ple and in­jured 7,460, Iran’s state me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day. Most of the in­juries were mi­nor with fewer than 1,000 still hos­pi­talised, Iran’s cri­sis man­age­ment head­quar­ters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.

The grim res­cue work re­sumed at dawn in the Kur­dish town of Sar­pol-e-Za­hab in the west­ern Ira­nian prov­ince of Ker­man­shah, the hard­est hit by the mag­ni­tude 7.3 earth­quake that struck Sun­day night.

The hos­pi­tal in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab was heav­ily dam­aged, and the army set up field hospi­tals, al­though many of the in­jured were moved to other cities, in­clud­ing Tehran.

The quake also dam­aged an army gar­ri­son and build­ings in the bor­der city and killed an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of sol­diers, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

Iran’s Red Cres­cent also said it wor­ried about more bod­ies in ru­ral vil­lages, though it said the res­cue op­er­a­tions in larger towns could end soon.

Pres­i­dent Hassan Rouhani ar­rived in Ker­man­shah prov­ince yes­ter­day to see the dam­age for him­self and of­fer his sup­port to those af­fected.

“This was a pain for all Ira­ni­ans,” Rouhani said, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on the pres­i­dency’s web­site. “Rep­re­sent­ing the na­tion of Iran, I of­fer my con­do­lences to the peo­ple of Ker­man­shah, and tell them that all of us are be­hind Ker­man­shah.”

Cleric Ab­dol­hos­sein Moezi, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei who also is tour­ing the area, said there was a need for more re­lief ma­te­rial and “se­cu­rity.”

Many of the heav­ily dam­aged com­plexes in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab were part of con­struc­tion projects un­der for­mer hard-line pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad. The newly home­less slept out­side in cold, hud­dled around makeshift fires for warmth.

Iran sits on many ma­jor fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a mag­ni­tude 6.6 earth­quake flat­tened the his­toric city of Bam, killing 26,000 peo­ple. In 2012, a ma­jor ca­su­alty earth­quake killed over 300. – AP

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