Iran earthquake survivors plead for help

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TEHRAN: Iranians living outdoors in bitterly cold temperatures after an earthquake are making desperate pleas for help. About 440 people were killed and about 7,000 injured when the quake hit near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday. The government is scrambling to get aid to the worst-hit Kermanshah province, where hundreds of homes were destroyed. President Hassan Rouhani, visiting the region, said state-built houses suffered more damage, and those responsible would be held accountable. Temperatures in Kermanshah province fell close to freezing for the second night in succession. Iranian state TV said thousands of survivors had spent another night in makeshift camps or in the open. “It is a very cold night… we need help. We need everything. The authorities should speed up their help,” one homeless young woman in Sarpol-e-Zahab, where most of the victims died, told Reuters news agency. One aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter and the UN said it was “ready to assist if required”. Mansoureh Bagheri, an Iran-based official with the Red Crescent Society, told the BBC about 12,000 residential buildings had “totally collapsed”. She said now that rescue operations had ended, the priority was getting people into shelters as quickly as possible, and that the delivery of aid was on track. Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that the immediate needs were tents, water and food.–Agencies

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