RI On The Ground In Earthquake-Affected Communities

NOV. 14 — Relief International teams have begun responding to the devastating earthquake that destroyed homes and lives in Iran and Iraq Sunday night.

From their base in northeastern Iraq, RI Iraq teams immediately headed to several areas of Sulimaneya province, where the earthquake's epicenter was located. In Iran, the Government of Iran and the Iranian Red Crescent Society are responding quickly and forcefully to the emergency. Relief International is an approved partner for emergency response efforts in Iran and stands ready to serve affected communities as the need arises.

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Relief International was created in response to Iran’s 1990 Manjil–Rudbar earthquake, which killed more than 50,000 people and left 135,000 more destitute. RI responded again to the 2003 earthquake near Bam, in southeast Iran, which killed an estimated 26,000 people and injured 30,000.

The 7.3 magnitude Nov. 12 earthquake hit hard in western Iran’s Kermanshah province. More than 400 people have died, according to Iranian National Legal Medicine Organisation, and more than 8,000 people have been injured. Those numbers continue to rise. The brunt of the damage was borne by the cities of Sare Pole Zahab and Qasr-e Shirin, where electricity was out for several hours. The cities also suffered large-scale destruction to houses and other buildings. Half of all the schools in Sare Pole Zahab are reported to have been destroyed.

Iran’s Ministry of Health has deployed 40 psychologists to serve people traumatized by the earthquake, and more than 100 injured have been transferred to hospitals in the capital city, Tehran 400 miles away. The Iranian Red Crescent Society has sent 300 search and rescue teams to 15 provinces to provide medical care and to construct emergency shelters, distribute more than 100,000 food kits and offer other services.

In Iraq, where six people reportedly have died and more than 500 have been injured, RI staff fanned out to several areas of Sulimaneya province, where damage was significant. RI staff are conducting assessments in Darbandikhan, Halabja, Kalar, Maydan and Qurato/Kfri, where many of the homes were destroyed.