World

Iran quake survivors plead for help as toll rises

Iran quake survivors plead for help as toll rises

The Sunday night quake's epicenter, measuring 7.3 magnitude on the Richter scale, was located approximately 32 km south of the city of Halabja in a remote mountainous region of eastern Iraq, some 200 km north-east of Baghdad and 400 km west of Tehran, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Under the plan dubbed Mehr, or "kindness" in Farsi, some 2 million units were built in Iran, including hundreds in Sarpol-e Zahab.

Iran's sporting community has always been beside the people during natural calamities such as the 2003 Bam quake in Bam City, Kerman Province, in which more than 26,000 were killed and over 30,000 were injured. The casualties and damage were limited to only Iran and Iraq, though.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has visited the quake-stricken area and promised the government "will use all its power to resolve the problems in the shortest time".

She said now that rescue operations had ended, the priority was getting people into shelters as quickly as possible, and that the delivery of aid was on track. "The most urgent need is to provide solutions for heating, housing and food", Pir Hossein Koolivand, the head of national rescue services, told state television. Thousands of people were injured and 30,000 homes damaged. "One of the officials said they would send them help tomorrow, but tomorrow is much too late".

Yesterday, Iranian 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 distributed.

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Less than 48 hours after the natural disaster hit Iraq and Iran, authorities in Iran have called off rescue efforts, saying there's little chance of finding survivors in the country's quake-prone western region.

The preliminary estimated loss caused by the recent strong quake in Iran stood around 450 million US dollars, Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.

In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake in northern Iran killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless, reducing dozens of towns and almost 2,000 villages to rubble.

The area, about 10 miles from the border with Iraq, is in the Kermanshah province.

The Iranian army, the elite Revolutionary Guards and forces of its affiliated Basij militia were dispatched to affected areas on Sunday night.

The region has regular earthquakes and last night's struck along a 930-mile fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which runs through western Iran and into Iraq's northeast.


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