Natural disaster harms historical sites in Iran

Natural disaster harms historical sites in Iran

Rescue operations have ended in areas of Iran hit by a powerful weekend natural disaster that killed at least 530 people and injured more than 8000, as many survivors, in need of food and water, battled the cold.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Department dispatched several cultural heritage task forces to determine the extent of [possible] damage to each monument, the official said, adding that the five sites can be restored.

President Hassan Rouhani, visiting the region, said state-built houses suffered more damage, and those responsible would be held accountable. "We need water, we need food, like bread, and we need blankets".

"The movement of different layers under the earth has muddied the water supply in the city and so we can't provide water until the mud settles", said the governor of Qasr-e Shirin, Faramarz Akbari.

One aid agency said 70,000 people needed shelter and the United Nations said it was "ready to assist if required".

Three days of mourning have been ordered for those in Kermanshah. My family lives in a village near Sarpol-e Zahab. "Our engineers?" He said the government would hold accountable anyone found not to have upheld building standards.

The IRNA news agency said Rouhani made the remarks while touring the quake-hit Iranian Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab yesterday.

Nine people were killed in Iraq and 550 were injured, all in the country's northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to the United Nations.

"On behalf of the Armenian government and personally myself I would like to extend our deepest condolences to you and the good people of Iran expressing our readiness to be involved in rescue operations".

Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that the immediate needs were tents, water and food. According to the report, Rouhani said that "the faults and shortcomings in the construction of these buildings should be investigated".

The Iranian Red Crescent Society has deployed 16 response teams, 31 sniffer dog teams, 41 debris removing teams, 48 emergency sheltering teams and nine emergency treatment teams in the hardest-hit areas. Aid institutions throughout Iran, as well as relief workers, have been busy round the clock attending to the injured and survivors.

Tremors were felt as far away as Turkey, Israel and Kuwait.

Sunday's 7.3-magnitude quake struck villages and towns in the mountainous area of Kermanshah province that borders Iraq while many people were at home asleep.

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