Iran ends quake rescue operations
ANKARA: Iran said yesterday that rescue operations had ended in areas hit by a powerful weekend earthquake that killed at least 450 people and injured thousands of others, 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 Kermanshah province that borders Iraq while many people were asleep. At least 14 prov- inces in Iran were affected.
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 young woman in Sarpol-e Zahab, one of the hardest-hit towns, told state TV 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.
Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condol- ences and called on government agencies to do all they could to help those affected.
Iranian police, the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia forces were dispatched to affected areas on Sunday night. President Hassan Rouhani will visit the areatoday.
The television station showed footage of rescue workers frantically combing through the rubble of dozens of villages immediately after the quake. But officials said the chances of finding any more survivors were extremely low. – Reuters
A man walks past a building damaged in Sunday’s earthquake in Darbandikhan in Sulaimaniya Governorate, Iraq, yesterday.