Iran: Mazandaran and Other Northern Provinces Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 2

Situation Report
Originally published

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.
In Brief

This Information Bulletin (no. 02/2004) is being issued for information only. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

A strong earthquake measuring 5, 51 on the Richter scale stuck Iran in the afternoon of 28 May 2004 at 5:08 local time (13:47 GMT). The epicentre was reportedly in the village of Baladeh located 43 miles notheast of the Iranian capital Teheran, in the province of Mazandaran near the Caspian Sea.

The earthquake was felt also in the neighbouring provinces of Tehran, Gilan, Semnan, Golestan, Isfahan, Markazi, Qom and Qazvin. More than 157 aftershocks were recorded of which one with a magnitude of 4.4 on the Richter scale. Fearing further aftershocks, many citizens of Teheran spent several days and nights outdoors.

Iran is located at one of the most active seismic fault lines in the world. During the past years, the country has been jolted by around 20 major quakes in which more than 140,000 people lost their lives. On December 26, 2003 a powerful quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale razed to the ground the south-eastern city of Bam burying under the rubbles an estimate of 26,000 people.


According to the latest official statistics on the disaster, the dead toll stands at 35 while 278 people were injured. Preliminary assessments indicate that the earthquake damaged 75 villages in the cities of Noshahr, Chalous and Nour in the Mazandaran province and 42 villages in Alamout region in the Qazvin province. The hardest hit villages in Alamout region are about 80 miles west of Tehran. Around 7 villages of Taleghan region in north of Tehran were affected also but have suffered small scale damage.

The quake unleashed landslides and falling boulders and many of the victims were drivers buried in their cars while driving. The road from Tehran to Chalous riddled with large cracks, rocks and giant boulders. Many roads in Mazandaran and Qazvin were blocked thus making the access to the affected villages difficult.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) is well known for its excellent capacity in disaster management and has launched immediately a search and rescue operation by dispatching to the affected areas. its specialized teams with snuffer dogs, relief and medical teams as well as volunteers from the nearby branches Red Crescent volunteers and relief workers conducted relief and rescue activities and provided first aid as well as medical evacuations if needed.

IRCS branches in the most affected provinces of Mazandaran, Qazvin, and Teheran were the first to respond with further support in equipment and other resources provided by the IRCS Relief Organization and Semnan, Qom, Gilan, Golestan, Ardabil Kermanshah Zanjan, Markazi Isfahan branches of the IRCS.

At the time of reporting, the rescue phase of the operation in three most affected provinces is drawing to a close with a focus being still on the provision of food and shelter.

In the Mazandaran province the IRCS has deployed the following personal and equipment:

245 relief workers, 8 snuffer dog teams, 14 search and rescue teams, 6 mountain rescue teams, 3 medical teams including 13 medical doctors and 4 nurses, 9 relief teams, 2 telecommunication teams and one Air relief team fully equipped with relief and rescue facilities and equipment;

Their activities were supported by the fleet of vehicles consisting of:

  • 31 Ambulances
  • 32 vans
  • 20 trucks
  • 3 small buses
  • 1 rescue vehicle
  • 3 truck trailers

Some 65 relief workers, 2 snuffer dog teams, 3 urban search and rescue teams and 4 medical teams including 4 doctors conducted the relief and rescue operations in the Qazvin province. The following fleet was put at the disposal of the teams:
  • 16 Ambulances
  • 12 vans
  • 26 trucks
  • 2 small buses
  • 1 Water tanker
  • 5 small truck
  • 2 Truck trailers
  • 1 Bus
  • 8 light

The operation in the province of Teheran was carried out by 131 relief workers, 5 urban search and rescue teams, 5 medical teams and 6 relief and first aid teams. The operation was supported by:
  • 13 Ambulances
  • 4 vans
  • 1 truck
  • 4 small buses
  • 1 rescue vehicle

Distribution of relief items:

So far, the Iranian Red Crescent has distributed following relief items to assist 10,000 affected families:

Non-food & Food Relief items
Quantity distributed
Mazandaran Province
Quantity distributed
Qazvin Province
Quantity distributed
Teheran Province
Tents family size
4,000 pcs
Tent group size
600 pcs
2,480 pcs
680 pcs
Plastic sheet
4,000 pcs
5,625 kg?
Soap bares
Washing powder
4,000 boxes
Liquid detergent
3,365 bottles
Tool kits
748 pcs
Jerry cans
207 pairs
1,380 pcs
Power generators
Water pumps
Water tanker
Food basket2
Fruit juice
8,000 boxes
Ready to eat meals
7,000 kg
3,000 kg
1,000 kg
1,000 kg
1,000 kg
Edible Oil
2,000 bottles
1,000 bottles
350 boxes
252 kg
1,000 kg
Canned food
2,100 cans
2,416 cans

In addition, 100 spade and shovel sets, 31 ice boxes, 136 bottles of mineral water, 38 packages of bread, 22 batteries, 2500 disposal glasses, 25 kettles, 175 KGs dates, 33 boxes of chocolate were distributed in Quazvin.

Psychological Support

Along with rescue and relief activities, the Iranian Red Crescent continued to provide psychological support to people affected by the disaster. The value of these highly needed activities in restoring human dignity and meeting psychological needs has been largely acknowledged by the affected communities.

The Federation

From the very beginning of the earthquake response operation the Federation team based in the delegation in Tehran and led by the Head of delegation is liaising with the National Society, the Secretariat in Geneva and other relevant actors. DM delegate and Information delegate were put on standby. Federation offered its full support and assistance to the IRCS. However, the National Society had sufficient capacity to respond and the offer for assistance was not required. Information delegate visited jointly with the IRCS Communication officer the affected area and returned on Tuesday to Teheran. A news story and photos captured during this visit will be released shortly.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

  • In Iran: Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. :Mr. Mehrdad Eshraghi, Acting Director General of International Affairs Department, Tehran; email: ; mobile: 98. 912 384 7050; tel: 98.21.8849 077/8808 155; fax: 98 .21.884 9079 Website: http:// ;
  • In Iran: Delegation contact Mr.Mohammed Mukhier, Head of Delegation, Tehran; email: ; mobile: 98 .912 314 4250; tel: 98.21.8890 567/8911 271; fax: 98.21.889 5346
  • In Geneva: Mr.Mostafa Mohaghegh, Operation Coordinator, OSD email : mobile phone:41 794150646 ; tel : 4122 7304527;

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at


1 The Seismological Center of Tehran University's Geophysics Institute announced that the quake measured 5.5 on the Richter scale and that its epicenter was in the village of Baladeh, 69 kilometers northeast of Tehran, near the Caspian Sea.

2 A food basket is a three persons ration consisting of: 9kg of rice, 3kg of sugar, 900 gr. of tea, 1.8 lit of edible oil, 3 kg of beans, 21 cans- of fish, 21 cans of beans.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale with the epicenter 72 kilometers north of Tehran. According to the same source the depth of the quake was between 16 and 25.6 kilometers (10 and 16 miles), which makes it fairly shallow but still deeper than the Bam quake. The USGS said it bases its magnitude calculation by looking at measurements of a number of seismographs around the world. This figure can sometimes differ from a measurement recorded closer to the epicenter.