News / Middle East

    Iran's Quake Death Toll May Rise

    Ruins of a building in a village near the city of Varzaqan in northwestern Iran, after an earthquake, Aug. 13, 2012.  Ruins of a building in a village near the city of Varzaqan in northwestern Iran, after an earthquake, Aug. 13, 2012.
    x
    Ruins of a building in a village near the city of Varzaqan in northwestern Iran, after an earthquake, Aug. 13, 2012.
    Ruins of a building in a village near the city of Varzaqan in northwestern Iran, after an earthquake, Aug. 13, 2012.
    Lisa Schlein
    GENEVA — As rescue workers in northwest Iran on Tuesday recovered more bodies three days after two earthquakes killed more than 300 people, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports that casualty numbers may rise.

    The International Red Cross Federation says getting detailed, accurate information from earthquake-ravaged areas of northwest Iran is very difficult.  

    The Geneva-based Federation says it is in contact with the Iranian Red Crescent Society, which is running the emergency relief and life-saving operation.

    Red Cross spokeswoman Jessica Sallabank says most of the people killed in the quakes lived in remote rural areas where buildings are made of mud and bricks.

    She says the destruction and damage is widespread, with at least 180 villages affected.

    She says tens of thousands of people are homeless and around 4,500 people injured, some very seriously.

    Although the Iranians have called off their search and rescue operation, Sallabank says the number of missing people is not established.

    “The Iranian Red Crescent are telling us that people are still coming forward saying they are looking for missing people," said Sallabank. "Clearly, this is a very terrible tragedy with many people killed, injured, many lives destroyed. So the next few weeks and months will be very difficult for those who have been caught up in this. The focus for the Iranian Red Crescent now is how to help people who have been made homeless or have been temporarily evacuated from their houses. New information coming from the Iranian Red Crescent overnight says that they have now provided over 45,000 temporary shelters to people caught up in the affected area.”  

    Sallabank says the International Red Cross Federation is offering to assist the Iranian government in its relief effort.   But she says, while Iranian government officials say they are ready to receive contributions from other countries, the Iranian Red Crescent Society has so far not asked for any outside help and is not seeking international funding.  

    “It is not that the help is not wanted, it is not needed," she said. "They are a very, very strong national society.  They are one of the world’s best Red Crescents when it comes to dealing with earthquakes.  And as a federation, they are part of our organization and we are just on hand waiting to see if they do need anything and also coordinating any responses from any other national societies.  But, at this point, yes, we are just waiting to see what happens and they do not need our assistance at this point.”  

    Iran is prone to frequent severe earthquakes as several major fault lines cross the country.  A powerful earthquake in the city of Bam in 2003 took the lives of some 26,000 people.  An earthquake in Iran’s Caspian region in 1990 killed between 40 and 50,000 people.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anette D'assigen from: France
    August 16, 2012 12:08 AM
    we must agree over one thing... Duma and Andre... Islam has destroyed and ruined France... culturally, economically politically and artistically - all artistic expressions... let it be a warning to all the nations that contemplate importing Muslims from Islamic countries... Islam is not benign or tolerant or even kind... its a malevolent sinister degradation of women culture and economies... they contribute nothing... demand more and accuse you of "racism"... they incite violence riot murder and rape... that is the truth
    In Response

    by: Brian O'Leary from: Boston
    August 16, 2012 2:11 PM
    What is there to destroy? A country occupied by neo-Nazi, chicken-hearted fascist cowards who like cheese and not using deodorant?
    Remeber the genocides France committed in Algeria, Morroco, Vietnam, Canada (against Natives along with the British) etc.

    by: Duma from: France
    August 15, 2012 12:03 AM
    is this the Islamic "paradise" of Iran...??? look at them - these Iranian fools still live in caves and mud huts!!! are these the idiots who chant "death to America - death to Israel..." all the time??? hey, Iran, Islam is a degradation meant for the Arabs - it was meant to keep these moon worshipers in "line"... I thought you despise Arabs... so why do you let Islam rule you...?? look at the destitution squalor and poverty Islam has reduced you to... look at the filth envy an resentment it teaches you to have for others... you used to be a great nation until Islam has made you hate and envy Israel... what a shame!!!!!!!
    In Response

    by: Andre Bussard from: Lyon
    August 15, 2012 9:00 PM
    Duma you are not French. You are another foriegn immigrant in ruining France. You claim Islam ruined Iran? Maybe. But Middle-Eastern or Eastern European immigrants like you of every religion are making France a joke today. Go back to where you came from.

    by: Fullbright from: UK
    August 14, 2012 10:21 PM
    Montana... excellent observation... "donkeys in mud huts..." LOL...
    Iran - what a farce...

    by: Montana from: USA
    August 14, 2012 7:52 PM
    Iran says that any foreign help for quake area now will be welcomed..." - really...?? Hey, Iranians, your Ayatollas spend Billions of Dollars ensuring that your water supply is contaminated with radioactive cancer agents... can't you ask them to divert some of these Billions to help some of your Iranian brothers who live like donkeys in mud huts...??? NO...!!!???
    In Response

    by: erfan
    August 15, 2012 8:27 AM
    Please do not comment on Iran. Little to be polite. I do not want to be naughty about good people of America. But I think the American people from the comments you are upset.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.