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UN to Appeal for Funds for Iran Quake Survivors - 2004-01-02

United Nations officials in the devastated Iranian city of Bam are preparing an appeal for funds to help the survivors of last week's earthquake, which killed more than 30,000 people.

With international aide pouring in to the devastated city of Bam, aid workers say the risk of disease has abated, and that attention now needs to center on how to deal with the needs of those who lived through the earthquake a week ago.

Aid workers say a U.N. appeal will go out to international donors next week for funds to provide shelter, sanitation, water and food. Officials say an assessment is underway in Bam to determine just what and how much is needed.

Helping the United Nations assess those needs are at least five or six countries, including the United States, which has temporarily lifted some of its sanctions on Iran to send in aid and doctors.

Meanwhile, some remarkable cases have been reported, including Thursday's rescue of a man who survived under a wardrobe. But there have been fewer such cases in Bam than in other quakes. Rescue workers said that was due to the mud-brick construction materials used in the city, which crumbled to dust during the quake.

One U.N. aid official, Ted Pearn, told The Associated Press news agency that the first of three tent camps intended to hold around 40,000 survivors was now under construction. Eleven foreign field hospitals have been set up alongside the medical efforts of Iranian health workers and the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Estimates of the death toll in Bam continue to vary. But a U.N. report, citing Iranian government figures, put the figure at not less than 33,000 dead. Iranian officials have said that total could rise still further.