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Iran earthquakes: 100 Red Crescent rescue teams working to pull survivors from the rubble

Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran has sent 100 teams of specially-trained emergency workers, as well as eight rescue teams which include 12 sniffer dogs (a total of 622 people), into Lorestan province, where three earthquakes have severely struck the mountainous region between the cities of Doroud and Borujerd. The emergency relief teams are helping to pull survivors out of the rubble, treat the injured and are also assessing the immediate needs of survivors.

Preliminary reports from the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) say more than 50 people have died and nearly 900 are injured. It is feared these numbers may rise as search and rescue operations continue. Some 330 villages were heavily damaged and, of those, it is estimated some 70 may have been completely destroyed.

The IRCS has also sent in three helicopters to the region, which are being used to ferry the injured to hospitals, as well as 85 ambulances, 35 light trucks and 29 heavy trucks.

"The immediate priority remains search and rescue, in order to save as many lives as possible and to make sure the injured receive appropriate medical care," explains Chang Hun Choe, the Federation Head of delegation in Tehran. "The priorities for the survivors are tents, blankets, food and water in the immediate aftermath."

The Iranian Red Crescent has already distributed emergency relief assistance, including nearly 3,000 tents, 1,300 kitchen sets, some 10,000 blankets and 200 moquettes (small carpets), more than 1,200 stoves, as well as thousands of bottles of mineral water and cans of food.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that communications and roads have been cut, and that many businesses, suppliers and governments offices are closed since this is the Iranian New Year holiday of Norouz.

No international call for assistance has been received. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is closely monitoring the situation and is on stand-by to support the IRCS, if needed.

... Payvand News - 4/1/06 ... --

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