Assistance to Earthquake Victims in Iran

Originally published
ACT Co-ordinating Office

Iran Earthquake No 1

Assistance to earthquake victims in Iran
Geneva, May 16, 1997

ACT today issues an appeal for assistance to an estimated 10.000 victims of the earthquake in Iran. The assistance will be in the shape of food aid, blankets, clothing, shoes, hygiene items, kitchen utensils and lanterns. The ACT appeal will be for approximately US $ 300.000 of which 243.500 US$ have already been pledged by ACT members.

The assistance will be provided through the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). MECC and local churches will cooperate with the Iranian Red Crescent Society in distribution, monitoring and follow up reporting.

The earthquake hit two regions, Birjand and Qaen, in eastern Iran last Saturday. The earthquake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and was followed by 185 aftershocks. The number of death has sofar been put by the Iranian authorities at 1.560 but it may rise as ruins in more remote villages are searched and cleared. Another 2.810 people are reported wounded. Some 148 villages have been ruined or severely damaged leaving 50.000 people homeless. Over 100 schools and many health posts, rural health centers and hospitals have suffered between 20-100% destruction. Iranian authorities earlier this week estimated material damages at $ 100 million. Another, smaller, earthquake hit northwestern Iran last Monday but without causing damages or casualties.

The Birjand and Qaen regions are situated at Iran s border with Afghanistan and are among the least developed in Iran. Several villages are reported near totally destroyed by a UN mission to the region. Houses and buildings have collapsed, telephone lines, electricity networks and roads have sustained extensive damage. Also traditional wells and irrigations systems have been destroyed or damaged.

The above mentioned relief items will be purchased locally or regionally.

For further information, please contact:

ACT Appeals Officer Dirk Van Gorp (phone ++41 22 791 6040) or ACT Communications Officer, Nils Carstensen (phone +41 22 791 6039 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 358 31 71).

Ecumenical Centre / 150, route de Ferney / P.O. Box 2100 / 1211 Geneva 2 / Switzerland. Phone: ++41-22-791.60.33 / Fax: ++41-22-791.65.06 / E-mail: / Telex: 415 730 OIK CH