News / Middle East

Iranians Struggle to Recover After Powerful Earthquakes

Iranians mourn over the covered bodies of loved ones in the village Baje-Baj, near the town of Varzaqan, who were killed in twin earthquakes that hit northwestern Iran, August 12, 2012.
Iranians mourn over the covered bodies of loved ones in the village Baje-Baj, near the town of Varzaqan, who were killed in twin earthquakes that hit northwestern Iran, August 12, 2012.
Edward Yeranian

CAIRO —Thousands of people in Iran's East Azerbaijan province are struggling to cope after their homes were destroyed by two powerful earthquakes that struck minutes apart. Iranian TV says that 12 villages were reduced to rubble and 60 more were badly damaged by the quakes, which measured 6.4 and 6.3 on the Richter scale. At least 250 people were reported killed. 

Iranian TV showed images of villagers walking along rubble-strewn roads in the East Azerbaijan village of Ahr, which it said was destroyed by the quakes. Mud-brick houses appeared to have collapsed, leaving gaping holes and burying residents under piles of rubble.

The video also showed scores of victims of the quakes being treated in hospitals in the cities of Tabriz and Ardebil. Family members gathered around the injured in hospital corridors filled with makeshift beds and equipment.

Iran's Health Minister, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, spoke to reporters in one damaged village, saying aid organizations were doing their best to help the victims.

She says that "families need to bury their dead, at which point we must help them with food, water and tents to live in." She adds that provisional hospitals will be set up in villages to treat the wounded and they will be supplied with needed medication.

 

  • A man looks at damaged houses in the earthquake-stricken village of Varzaqan near Ahar, in East Azerbaijan province, August 12, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in Varzaqan near Ahar. Iran's government faced criticism from lawmakers and the public on its handling of relief efforts, August 12, 2012.
  • Earthquake victims mourn in the village of Varzaqan, August 12, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in the village of Varzaqan near Ahar, August 12, 2012.
  • A general view shows the destruction in Ishikhli village, near the town of Varzaqan after twin earthquakes hit northwestern Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • A doorway near collapsed rubble in northwest Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • Earthquake victims stand near damaged houses in northwest Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • A damaged building in northwest Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • A house in ruins in Varzaqan after the earthquake hit, August 11, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in Varzaqan, August 11, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in Varzaqan, August 11, 2012.

Medics and Red Crescent workers transported hundreds of casualties to larger hospitals by ambulance and specially equipped buses. One rescue worker says that more than 1,000 of the wounded were taken to the hospital and that 11 search and rescue teams with radar devices were deployed to the scene of the quakes. He adds that 400 rescue vehicles were sent out along with aid supplies, food and blankets.

Iran's English-language Press TV reported that rescue operations had been called off as of Sunday afternoon and that all those buried under the rubble had been pulled out. Witnesses, however, told news agencies that many collapsed homes have yet to be searched.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar visited the quake region on Sunday, praising rescue workers for their efforts in helping the victims.

He says that everyone involved responded well with whatever resources they had to this sudden disaster. He praises them for working so hard and thanks them for their efforts.

Iran has numerous fault lines running across large portions of the country, causing frequent earthquakes. Close to 40,000 people were reported to be killed after a particularly violent quake in the Bam region of the country in 2003.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid