Iran quake sur­vivors strug­gle with­out food, shel­ter

Daily News - - WORLD -

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

PIC­TURE: AP

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.

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