Iran quake kills 306; disease fear for survivors

Twin earthquakes that devastated rural villages in northwest Iran on the weekend killed 306 people, most of them women and children, and have sparked fears of disease outbreak, officials said today.

Another 3,037 people were injured, of whom 2,011 were given first aid at the scene and the rest were taken to hospital, where 700 surgeries were performed, Health Minister Marzieh Vahid told lawmakers in a report published on the parliament's website.

"We are continuing the search for bodies," she said. Authorities called off rescue operations yesterday after saying all possible survivors had been recovered.

Another official addressing the lawmakers, Hassan Ghadami, a deputy interior minister in charge of crisis management, said: "Many of the victims were killed in the first hours (after the quake) due to the mass of muddy rubble... and the old structure of houses in the region."

The head of Iran's emergency services, Gholamreza Masoumi, meanwhile warned of a possible outbreak of infectious diseases as homeless survivors huddled in unsanitary conditions, lacking water and portable washrooms, the Fars news agency reported.
"Another important issue is a large number of animal corpses scattered in the area and inside water resources," he said.

The two earthquakes, measuring 6.4 and 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale, rumbled through northwest Iran on Saturday in quick succession, levelling mud brick and concrete homes in villages to the northeast of the city of Tabriz.

Comments (+)