British search, rescue team arrives in Iran
Tehran, Dec 27, IRNA -- A specialized British search and rescue team has arrived in Bam to help in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that struck the city early Saturday morning.
The 68-member team arrived at Kerman airport and proceeded immediately by air and land from Kerman to the quake's epicenter in the nearby city of Bam.
The team brought with them equipment, including the latest heat-seeking technology, and four sniffer dogs.
They were accompanied by a team of four experts from the UK's Department for International Development, who will be conducting an urgent assessment of how the British government can best help the relief effort.
The team has been joined in Kerman by a team from the British Embassy in Tehran. The Embassy team is tasked with locating, identifying and helping any British nationals affected by the earthquake.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair noted the scope of this human tragedy and the enormity of the task undertaken by the Iranian government in the relief effort. Blair stressed that the UK stood ready to assist Iran saying that, "the victims of this tragedy are in all our thoughts and prayers today."
The British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, Friday spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi to express the condolences of the British Government and people to those affected by the earthquake in Bam.
"This is a terrible disaster to hit Bam and as I told Foreign Minister Kharrazi, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of this area who have been affected. Our condolences go to the relatives of those who tragically perished in this natural disaster. We will do all we can to help," said Straw.
Based on dispatches available, many countries, including Head of the Iraqi Governing Council Abdulaziz Hakim, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and various Afghan officials, have thus far expressed their condolences to Iranian officials on the disaster.
Swiss relief team leaves for quake-hit Kerman province
Tehran, Dec 27, IRNA -- Iran's Red Crescent Society (IRCS) declared here on Saturday that a Swiss relief team has left Switzerland for the quake-stricken Kerman province.
Following the earthquake in the province on Friday and IRCS call on the international bodies for aid, a relief team of 10 specialized relief workers left Switzerland for the quake-hit site along with sniffer dogs this morning to aid victims.
Some 12 trained sniffer dogs belonging to Iran's Air Force had also been forwarded to the site to identify the injured victims of the provincial Friday's earthquake who are buried under the rubble.
Slovakia sends relief aid to Bam's quake victims
Vienna, Dec 27, IRNA -- A military plane carrying a group of aid and medical workers for the quake-stricken victims of Bam left Bratislava for Kerman on Saturday.
The group which includes five workers, equipment and 12 sniffer dogs will stay in the area for a week to assist in the search and rescue of the quake-stricken people.
The Slovak group comprises government and non-governmental individuals.
UAE to send first batch of relief workers
Abu Dhabi, Dec 27, IRNA -- The first batch of relief workers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is due in Iran on Sunday, said Director General of the Relief Aid Department at the UAE Red Crescent Saleh Moussa al-Taie here on Saturday.
Al-Taie told IRNA that a team, he is going to head, will be directly flown to Kerman, ferrying the first relief aid consignment of the UAE, including several tons of medicine, special emergency instruments, tents and blankets.
Japan sends rescue teams, relief aid to quake-hit Iran
Tehran, Dec 27, IRNA -- Japan sent an emergency rescue team to Iran on Saturday in respond to Tehran's request for international aid after a disastrous earthquake wreaked havoc in the southeastern city of Bam on Friday, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.
The Japanese government has also pledged to send relief goods worth 25 million yen to Iran, while the Japanese Foreign Ministry has decided to provide 83 million yen to Iran in additional emergency grants.
Japan's rescue team comprises a Foreign Ministry official, two from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a doctor and a nurse. Arrangements will be made to send the goods, including tents, power generators, blankets and water tanks, within a few days.
The Japan Platform, an umbrella organization of humanitarian groups, also sent a team of six people and three rescue dogs from the Japan Rescue Association and two people from the nongovernmental organization of Peace Japan.
They will help rescue or recover quake victims in Bam.
Two Pakistani C-130s carrying relief aid to land in Kerman on Sunday
Tehran, Dec 27, IRNA -- Two C-130 aircraft carrying relief aid from Pakistan for the earthquake victims of Bam are scheduled to arrive in Iran's southeastern city of Kerman on Sunday morning, the Pakistani Embassy in Tehran reported in a statement on Saturday.
Each aircraft, the embassy stressed, will be carrying 12 tons of load which will contain relief goods such as blankets, tents, medicines and cooking stoves.
The goods will be handed over to Iranian authorities for distribution among the earthquake-affected people of Bam. Earlier, Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf expressed
his sorrow over the loss of life caused by the earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam, saying that the Pakistani people share the grief of their Iranian brethren.
In a message to his Iranian counterpart Seyed Mohammad Khatami, Musharraf said he has been saddened by the news of devastation caused by an earthquake in the city of Bam Friday morning.
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