Situation Report No. 6

Situation Report
Originally published
appeal no. 10/97
period covered: July - August
The Iranian Red Crescent Society is continuing to assist with meeting the food, water, shelter and other relief needs of some 50,000 earthquake victims. Because reconstruction is far from over, it is now assessing the need for further assistance beyond the original four month time scale of the operation and preparing construction projects.

The context

The major earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale, which hit Birjand and Qaen districts in the southern part of Khorasan Province on 10 May, 1997, left some 1,728 people dead, 5,059 injured and thousands homeless.

Latest events

Hundreds of aftershocks, some as big as 5.9 on the Richter Scale, caused further damage to dwellings but no casualties. Recently, strong seasonal winds have damaged tents.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

Current services of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to disaster victims include distribution of food and other daily necessities, and health and sanitation services. These are being provided in co-operation with governmental and non-governmental organisations. Food distribution to holders of IRCS ration cards continues on a monthly basis. A list of food, relief & hygiene items distributed to date is attached to this report.

The Society has set up 20 field shower blocks in various locations. Seventeen water tanks are being purchased with funds contributed to the appeal. They will be filled by the 32 water tankers that the Society is using to keep villages supplied with water.

Seventy students in the affected area have been accommodated in an IRCS dormitory and are being cared for by the Society. Meanwhile, more than 170 group tents are being erected in the area to provide the required classroom accommodation for the new school year, beginning in September.

Outstanding needs

Due to strong seasonal winds in the affected region, many tents were torn and most of the poles broken. They will need to be replaced.

The pace of reconstruction is currently fairly slow and it is expected that a large portion of the 12,407 affected families (more than 50,000 people) now being cared for by the IRCS in 85 villages will be dependent on the Society's support and assistance until the reconstruction phase is over. The IRCS is in the midst of assessing needs, with a view to extending the operation beyond the four months originally scheduled. (In a few cases the IRCS has made cash grants to help families facing extreme hardship move ahead with rebuilding.)

It is already clear, however, that with the fast approaching autumn the homeless will need heating devices and plastic sheeting, besides 10 more field showers in addition to the 20 already installed. The IRCS plans to undertake several construction projects in the area. Sites have been identified for the construction of dormitories for orphans and for relief bases in Qaen and Birjand and the costing of these projects is under way.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media

A three-week assessment mission that will study Iran's response to the disaster is scheduled to begin its work in the next few days. The team will be made up of representatives of UNDHA, UNDP, the Iranian Ministry of the Interior, IRCS and the Federation.

A video on the Khorasan earthquake and IRCS relief activities has been produced, with sound in English or Arabic, and a Farsi version is being prepared. Copies will be distributed to donors.


The response of Sister Societies, donor countries and national and international organisations to the domestic and Federation appeals was prompt and generous and has enabled the IRCS to cater for beneficiaries' needs until now. Information on continuing needs will be distributed as it becomes available.

Ann Naef
Acting Head
Appeals & Reports Service

Jean Ayoub
Acting Director
Middle East and North Africa