Relief Teams Rescue Seven People Buried in Iranian Quake
MANJIL, Iran (AP) _ French and Iranian relief teams rescued at least seven people, including a mother and her 12-year-old son, who were buried for five days in the rubble from the earthquake in Iran, the official media said today.
In another development, field tribunals were being set up in Rudbar and Manjil to try ″criminals who are abusing the situation″ in the ravaged northwestern area, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. IRNA appeared to be referring either to looters or profiteers operating after Thursday’s quake.
The agency also said at least 50 aftershocks were recorded Tuesday night and today. More than 400 aftershocks have occurred since the quake struck.
Officials say between 36,000 and 50,000 people were killed and 200,000 injured in the temblor, which measured 7.3 to 7.7 on the Richter scale. About a half million people were left homeless. A Western Red Cross official said Tuesday that the death toll eventually could reach 70,000.
The head of Iran’s Red Crescent societies, Mohammed Parham, said 175 foreign planes carrying tons of aid had landed in Tehran since Sunday and that no additional foreign doctors or relief workers were needed, IRNA reported.
The rescued mother and the 12-year-old boy were found critically injured Tuesday in the village of Kelishom, 100 miles northwest of Tehran, IRNA said. Two other people were rescued in village of Vieh, IRNA said.
The agency also said a man, a woman and a boy, members of a family, were rescued in the village of Jirandeh the same day. ″Rescue workers had to remove massive piles of rubble and dig for four hours″ to save the family, it said.
Bulldozers and cranes removed the dusty debris in many of the 342 cities and remote mountain villages affected by the quake, and relief teams brought tents and food supplies to the homeless.
Survivors were being housed in more than 70,000 tents sent to the region, said Parham, whose organization is the Islamic version of the Red Cross.
Parham praised the foreign relief effort and said about 500 foreign doctors and relief workers were in the quake-afflicted area. But he said relief operations were approaching the final stages and added there was no need to dispatch additional foreign doctors and relief workers to Iran, IRNA reported.
Relief workers, meanwhile, are trying to prepare for the next threats - a possible outbreak of disease and the fierce winter winds that roar through the stricken region. Pestilence is a danger as rains falling on bodies trapped in rubble wash bacteria into the water supply.
Kingsley Seevaratnam of the Geneva-based League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Iranian authorities want to move people out of the stricken northwestern provinces quickly to avoid possible epidemics.
Christian Brauner, a disaster specialist with the West German Red Cross, said he hoped to persuade West German authorities to send experts in repairing water and sewage systems to help Iran provide a clean water supply.
In Manjil, about 135 miles northwest of Tehran, Brauner said tents now being given out for temporary housing will be inadequate when winter comes.
″They will be torn to ribbons,″ he said.
In Parliament, hard-line deputies said Tuesday that the foreign aid - much of it from countries Iran considers enemies - will not buy closer relations with the West or nullify positions taken by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Those stands include the February 1989 death threat to British author Salman Rushdie for offending some Moslems with his novel, ″The Satanic Verses.″ Rushdie has pledged several thousand dollars to help survivors of the quake.
One deputy, Ayatollah Saddegh Khalkhali, said quake aid from the United States, Iraq and Saudi Arabia was appreciated but Iran ″could not forget our martyrs.″ The high-ranking cleric added: ″We cannot forgive the killing of 300 people on the Airbus or the 400 at Mecca.″
He was referring to the U.S. downing in July 1989 of an Iranian jetliner that killed all 290 aboard. The Navy said the jetliner, shot down over the Persian Gulf, was mistaken for a warplane.
More than 400 Moslem pilgrims, most of them Iranians, died when Saudi troops opened fire on a demonstration in Mecca in July 1987.