Iran quake sur­vivors spend se­cond night in the open air

Re­lief op­er­a­tions con­tinue in Iran’s quake-af­fected ar­eas

Daily Messenger - - Sportlight -

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

Peo­ple who had fled their homes when the quake rocked the moun­tain­ous re­gion span­ning Iran’s west­ern prov­ince of Kermanshah and Iraqi Kur­dis­tan on Sun­day evening, braved chilly tem­per­a­tures as au­thor­i­ties strug­gled to get aid into the quake zone. Iran has de­clared on Tues­day a na­tional day of mourn­ing as of­fi­cials out­lined the most press­ing pri­or­i­ties and de­scribed the lev­els of de­struc­tion in some parts as "to­tal". "Peo­ple’s im­me­di­ate needs are firstly tents, wa­ter and food," said the head of Iran’s elite Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards, Ma­jor Gen­eral Mo­ham­mad Ali Ja­fari.

"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. For­eign me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions, has not been al­lowed to visit the scene of the disas­ter. 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 dis­trib- uted. The of­fi­cial IRNA news agency said 30 Red Cres­cent teams had been sent to the area.

Hun­dreds of am­bu­lances and dozens of army he­li­copters were re­ported to have joined the res­cue ef­fort af­ter Ira­nian supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei or­dered the gov­ern­ment and armed forces to mo­bilise "all their means".

By late Mon­day, of­fi­cials said all the roads in Kermanshah prov­ince had been re-opened, al­though the worst-af­fected town of Sar-e Pol-e Za­hab re­mained with­out elec­tric­ity, said state tele­vi­sion. At least 280 peo­ple were killed in the town, home to some 85,000 peo­ple. Build­ings stood dis­fig­ured, their former fa­cades now rub­ble on crum­pled ve­hi­cles.

TEHRAN: Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani visit­ing quake zone in Kermanshah Prov­ince.

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