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Iran: One year after earthquake, 60,000 helped get back on their feet

By Andrea Swinburne-Jones - Communications Officer
World Vision International

More than 60,000 people have been directly assisted by World Vision's earthquake response in Iran during the past year. Another 33,000 people will indirectly benefit from various projects.

Children made up approximately 50 per cent of people helped in the international relief and development agency's response in the city of Bam and surrounding areas. World Vision was in the south-east city of Iran within 48 hours of the earthquake striking on 26 December, 2003. After almost 12 months in Bam, World Vision's earthquake relief response will finish at the end of December.

"The one year commemoration of the earthquake is approaching and people are still working hard to piece their lives together. During the last 12 months our program has made a positive contribution to the people of Bam and their city. The people we have worked with have been extremely appreciative of international groups coming to their country and helping them rebuild their lives," said Acting Program Manager, Mr Hendrik Harbers.

"The city is still healing though. Everyone in the city was affected - losing either immediate or extended family members. Around 40,000 of the 120,000 population were killed. Approximately 25,000 houses collapsed leaving around 75,000 people homeless in the formerly affluent city in the south-east of the country," said Harbers.

World Vision worked in co-ordination with local and international non-government organisations, and Iranian government authorities.

"World Vision has done so many small things in Bam that have added up to a lot. We thank World Vision for their work," said Head of the Bam Ministry of Education, Mr Arman.

During the early stages of the response World Vision carried out relief distributions including shelter items, blankets, clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and water purification items. 'Child-friendly spaces' were set up in kindergartens and primary schools, focusing on the well-being of children in disaster settings.

Creative activities programs in schools and seminars to support teachers to run these programs have been another way to help children deal with their experiences during the earthquake, and the losses in their families.

The construction of houses, health facilities, toilets; the provision of temporary school buildings and the rehabilitation of irrigation canals have been essential to help the city of Bam function again.

Financial support from people around the world - countries such as Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States - made it possible for World Vision to assist the people of Bam.

... Payvand News - 12/23/04 ... --

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