Ira­ni­ans plead for food and shel­ter from cold

The New Paper - - NEWS -

7.3-mag­ni­tude quake in Iran kills 530 peo­ple, leaves thou­sands strug­gling

Res­cue op­er­a­tions have ended in ar­eas of Iran hit by a pow­er­ful week­end earth­quake that killed at least 530 peo­ple and in­jured more than 8,000, state tele­vi­sion re­ported yes­ter­day. Many sur­vivors, in need of food and wa­ter, bat­tled the cold.

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 quake-stricken area in Ker­man­shah and promised that the gov­ern­ment “will use all its power to re­solve the prob­lems in the short­est time”.

State tele­vi­sion said thou­sands were hud­dling in makeshift camps, while many oth­ers spent a sec­ond night in the open for fear of more tremors af­ter some 193 af­ter­shocks.

LACK OF TENTS

A home­less woman in Sar­pole Za­hab, one of the hard­est hit towns, told state TV that her fam­ily was ex­posed to the night cold be­cause of lack of tents.

“We need help. We need ev­ery­thing. The au­thor­i­ties should speed up their help,” she said.

Footage of res­cue work­ers fran­ti­cally comb­ing through the rub­ble of dozens of vil­lages im­me­di­ately af­ter the quake were show­ing on tele­vi­sion.

But Ira­nian of­fi­cials said the chances of find­ing any more sur­vivors were ex­tremely low.

“The res­cue op­er­a­tions in Ker­man­shah Prov­ince have ended,” Mr Pir Hos­sein Ko­li­vand, head of Iran’s Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices, said on state tele­vi­sion.

Hos­pi­tals in nearby prov­inces took in many of the in­jured, state tele­vi­sion said, air­ing footage of sur­vivors wait­ing to be treated. Hun­dreds of crit­i­cally in­jured peo­ple were dis­patched to hos­pi­tals in Te­heran.

Pho­to­graphs posted on Ira­nian news web­sites showed res­cue work­ers dig­ging peo­ple out of col­lapsed build­ings, cars smashed be­neath rub­ble and res­cue dogs try­ing to find signs of life un­der the twisted re­mains of col­lapsed build­ings.

“More peo­ple will die be­cause of the cold. My fam­ily mem­bers live in a vil­lage near Sar­pol-e Za­hab. I can­not go there. I don’t know whether they are dead or alive,” Ro­jan Meshkat, 38, in the Kur­dish city of Sanan­daj told Reuters by tele­phone.

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