Iran quake survivors struggle without food, shelter
ANKARA: Exhausted and exposed to freezing cold, survivors of Sunday’s earthquake in western Iran begged authorities for food and shelter yesterday, saying aid was slow to reach them.
Iranian officials called off rescue operations earlier in the day on the grounds there was little chance of finding more survivors from the quake, which killed at least 530 people and injured thousands more.
It was Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade.
Survivors, many left homeless by the 7.3 magnitude quake that struck villages and towns in Kermanshah province along the mountainous border with Iraq, struggled through another bleak day yesterday in need of food, water and shelter.
Iran has so far declined offers of foreign assistance to deal with the aftermath of the tremor, which officials said damaged 30 000 homes and destroyed two villages.
“We are hungry. We are cold. We are homeless. We are alone in this world,” a weeping Maryam Ahang, who lost 10 members of her family in the hardest hit town of Sarpol-e Zahab, said.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged state agencies yesterday to speed up aid efforts.
President Hassan Rouhani paid a visit to the stricken region, promising to resolve “the problems in the shortest time”.
Thousands of people huddled in makeshift camps while many others chose to spend another cold night in the open because they feared more tremors after about 230 aftershocks.
In some areas, no building was left standing. Houses in impoverished Iranian villages are often made of concrete blocks or mudbrick that can quickly crumble and collapse in a strong quake.
Iran’s Red Crescent said emergency shelter had been provided for thousands of homeless people but a lack of electricity and water, as well as blocked roads, hindered aid supply efforts. – Reuters
Earthquake damaged buildings in Sarpole-Zahab in western Iran. A powerful earthquake hit the area along the border with Iraq on Sunday which killed at least 530 people.