Iran scram­bles to aid vic­tims of killer quake

Muscat Daily - - REGION -

Sar-e Pol-e Za­hab, Iran - Thou­sands of Ira­ni­ans pre­pared on Tues­day to spend a third night in the cold as au­thor­i­ties scram­bled to help those made home­less by a ma­jor earth­quake that killed more than 400.

As the coun­try marked a day of mourn­ing, Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani promised swift help fol­low­ing the 7.3-mag­ni­tude quake that struck a moun­tain­ous re­gion span­ning the Iran-Iraq bor­der on Sun­day.

Vol­un­teers also rushed to help af­ter thou­sands of homes were de­stroyed in the quake which rocked a re­gion ex­tend­ing across Iran’s west­ern prov­ince of Ker­man­shah and neigh­bour­ing Iraqi Kur­dis­tan.

But some vic­tims said not enough was be­ing done.

“We have been here for two days with noth­ing. We have no tents, no blan­kets,” said one young res­i­dent of Sar-e Pol-e Za­hab, the city most af­fected by the dis­as­ter.

He ac­cused ‘dis­hon­est peo­ple’ from ar­eas not af­fected by the quake of di­vert­ing food and ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties des­tined for the vic­tims.

The quake killed at least 432 in Iran, all in Ker­man­shah prov­ince, and eight in Iraq.

On Tues­day af­ter­noon, res­i­dents of Sar-e Pol-e Za­hab helped po­lice evac­u­ate an el­derly man from a home at risk of im­mi­nent col­lapse.

Sev­eral build­ings and houses lay in com­plete ru­ins, while oth­ers stood dis­fig­ured. Some struc­tures ap­peared un­scathed.

Res­cue work­ers with snif­fer dogs combed the ru­ins for sur­vivors af­ter at least 280 peo­ple were killed in the town of some 85,000 peo­ple.

The town cen­tre was clogged with traf­fic as peo­ple from the sur­round­ing prov­ince rushed to help with res­cue ef­forts.

Tents, some pro­vided by the Red Cres­cent, dot­ted green spa­ces turned into camps for the dis­placed. But some did not have shel­ter from the cold.

“What we need is a tent and cov­ers to be able to get through the night,” said 24 year old mother Shima Maryami Kiani.

Health Min­is­ter Hos­sein Ghaz­izadeh Hashemi was cited on Tues­day by the Tas­nim news agency as recog­nis­ing that aid ‘dis­tri­bu­tion was not as­sured prop­erly’ and needed to be im­proved.

Rouhani landed by he­li­copter in the city of Ker­man­shah and promised the gov­ern­ment would move swiftly to help those left home­less. “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.

As win­ter sets in, around 15,500 Ira­nian homes have been de­stroyed and an­other 15,000 dam­aged in the quake, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial es­ti­mates. Seven towns and nearly 2,000 vil­lages were dam­aged, au­thor­i­ties said, with some vil­lages com­pletely wiped from the map.


Peo­ple hud­dle by a fire in an open area fol­low­ing a 7.3-mag­ni­tude earth­quake, at Sar-e Pol-e Za­hab in Iran’s Ker­man­shah prov­ince on Tues­day

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