Story courtesy International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - A strong earthquake struck near Zarand in southeast Iran Tuesday, killing at least 790 people and injuring more than 1,400. The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) is leading the rescue and relief activities and has deployed nearly 50 disaster response teams to the area.
The IRCS has mobilized more than 1,500 staff and volunteers after The tremor, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale, shook the southeastern Iranian province of Kerman. Officials said major towns had apparently escaped serious damage, but some 40 villages had in the area were badly affected.
The IRCS rescue and relief teams have reached all the affected villages, which have a combined population of 30,000. They said that one village, Dahoone, had been entirely destroyed. In another, Houtkan, 80 per cent of the buildings had been destroyed.
The IRCS, which has a mandate from the government to coordinate rescue and relief services in disasters, has deployed a total of 50 teams, each comprising around 30 members, from the neighboring provinces of Esfahan, Sistan and Baluchestan, Yazd and Hormozgan, as well as from 10 cities in Kerman.
Eight sniffer-dog teams and mountain rescue teams have been sent to the affected region. In addition to an IRCS helicopter dispatched to the region, the government has provided three airplanes to transport Red Crescent relief items.
The disaster response teams are currently carrying out rescue and relief activities and conducting assessments to ascertain the extent of damage and the level of needs among the affected population.
Access to the affected villages is very difficult. The weather in the region is cold and rainy, and the IRCS teams are distributing tents, blankets and foodstuffs.
Zarand lies some 250 km from the city of Bam, which was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in December 2003.
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