Aid agencies respond to Iran quake

By on February 1, 2004

A Hungarian Baptist Aid medical team in Bam, Iran, works under palm trees for shade during the day and by reflector light at night.

Responding to calls for emergency relief efforts for survivors of the deadly earthquake that ravaged the city of Bam, Iran, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has released an initial grant of $15,000.

The grant was channeled through Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global, ecumenical alliance of churches responding to emergency needs worldwide, of which PWRDF is a member. The Geneva-based ACT co-ordinating office has sent out an initial grant of $50,000 US from its Rapid Response Fund.

The funds will be used by ACT members on the ground in Iran, including the Middle East Council of Churches and Norwegian Church Aid, for the purchase and distribution of tents, clothing, medicine and other relief items for survivors of the earthquake, which struck the ancient city on Dec. 26. Relief efforts are being co-ordinated with the Iranian Red Crescent and the United Nations office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs.

The global humanitarian group Church World Service has arranged for the airlift of medical supplies to serve 100,000 persons for three months and 5,000 hygiene kits. Episcopal Relief and Development, the relief and development arm of the Episcopal Church in the United States, also responded to the call for help.

Almost 30,000 people, nearly a third of the population, were reported dead after being buried under homes and buildings made from mud bricks. The situation was critical for tens of thousands of people left homeless at the onset of winter when temperatures drop below freezing.

Bam was hit by a tremor measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. Two-thirds of the city, whose rapid economic growth has been drawing migrants from across southeast Iran, was flattened. Electricity and water were cut off. Mullahs have had to use dust to cleanse the faces of the dead.

More than 1,000 people had been pulled alive from the rubble.

PWRDF is accepting donations for earthquake relief response in Iran.

Cheques may be sent marked:

PWRDF “Iran Earthquake,” 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto ON M4Y 2J6. Contact Barbara Wilkins for credit card donations. Phone: (416) 924-9199, ext. 320.

With files from ENI

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