Iran ends quake rescue operations, hungry survivors battle cold

Posted November 15, 2017

Rescuers search for survivors in Sarpol-e-Zahab in the border region of Iran and Iraq.

So far, over 230 after-shakes varied from 4.5 to 6.1 magnitude have hit the region.

At least 210 people were killed and more than 1,700 were injured Sunday night when a powerful 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Iran and Iraq.

Iranian athletes are closing ranks to help the natural disaster victims in the western Kermanshah Province.

The Mehr housing project was implemented under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration (2005-13) to provide affordable housing to low-income families.

Some now-homeless survivors simply wept outside, while others angrily showed journalists the destruction done by the quake. There have also been complaints about the poor quality of government-built buildings that had collapsed, while privately-built ones remained standing. We heard a few aid workers in Sarpol-e Zahab saying that those in the villages were already dead and nothing could be done for them.

Kermanshah, an nearly entirely Kurdish province nestled in the Zagros Mountains that run along the border with Iraq, suffered all of Iran's fatalities from the temblor Sunday night that shook 14 of the country's 31 provinces.

Both rescuers and residents stood on the remains of homes, looking through the rubble.

"The rescue operations in Kermanshah province have ended", Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services, said on state TV.

Mohammad-Ali Monshizadeh, an official from Kermanshah province, told the Irna state news agency: "Up to now, we have issued 430 death certificates. but an estimated number of 100 to 150 more people have been buried in quake-stricken villages and towns without permission. which raises the overall death toll to between 530 to 580 in Kermanshah".

Rouhani said all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up after the Islamic revolution of 1979 that are major players in the Iranian economy. "Representing the nation of Iran, I offer my condolences to the people of Kermanshah, and tell them that all of us are behind Kermanshah". "We had to leave without being able to help them".

The epicentre of the quake was near the border, 20 miles southwest of the city of Halabjah in Iran.

In Iraq, the most extensive damage was seen in the town of Darbandikhan, which is in the Kurdish region, where more than 30 people were injured.

The disparity in casualty tolls immediately drew questions from Iranians, especially because so much of the town was new.

Iran's Red Crescent said emergency shelter had been provided for thousands of homeless people, but a lack of water and electricity as well as blocked roads in some areas hindered aid supply efforts.