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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora