Iran: Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 1

Situation Report
Originally published
On Tuesday, 4 February, an earthquake registering 5.4 on the Richter scale and an aftershock of 6.1 occurred in the province of Khorasan in north-east Iran, near the border with Turkmenistan. The cities of Bojnourd, Shirvan, Esfaraien, Ghochan, Neishapour, and districts of Gobad and Minoodasht in Mazandaran province were all affected. The hardest hit were the rural areas of Bojnourd and Shirvan districts. Three aftershocks measuring 4.8, 3.8, and 5.7 were felt the next day.

According to the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) 13 villages were completely destroyed and 45 villages suffered 40-80% destruction. More than 2,800 residential units were damaged. The death toll from the earthquake now stands at 78, with 360 people injured. All of the injured are being evacuated by the Society's ambulances and medical care is being given by the Ministry of Health with the co-operation of the Society.

Immediately after the earthquake the IRCS sent a team of 165 relief workers to the disaster area, composed of members from the affected area as well as from its headquarters in Tehran. The Society's branches in Mazandaran, Semnan and Gorgan are co-ordinating their efforts for the relief operation and an operational task force has been established in Tehran. Two of the IRCS's helicopters have been dispatched, plus five water tanker trucks, and other heavy vehicles and mobile telecommunications equipment. IRCS has so far sent 91 mt. of food items and clothing to the area from its warehouses in Tehran, Sari, Gonbad, Gorgan and Mashhad. Other items sent include: 2,830 tents, 7,775 blankets, and 911 stoves.

Although access to the mountainous region is difficult and snow-covered roads have slowed down the response, the IRCS has mounted a formidable relief effort. Roads which were closed as a result of the earthquake have been opened. Cold weather conditions have also hampered the operation and the erection of tents has been the number one priority. IRCS is providing basic food for one month as well as household items.

UNDHA is also involved in the relief operation and is co-ordinating the despatch of a UN inter-agency assessment team to the affected area.

For the time being, no request for external assistance is envisaged, although donations would be accepted by the Society. Further details will follow as they become available. For further information please contact the Middle East/North Africa Department at the Secretariat.

Solayman Eleghmary
Middle East and North Africa Department