Quake Hero Buried; Search for Survivors Continues
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ A 9-year-old boy was pulled alive from the rubble of his earthquake- flattened home where he was trapped for nearly a week, the official news media said today.
Also today, a legislator who died during relief efforts following the deadly June 21 quake in northernwestern Iran was given a hero’s burial.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the 9-year-old, Morteza Amirpour, was found by Soviet rescuers late Wednesday next to the bodies of family members in the ruins of the village of Rahmatabad near Rudbar, 125 miles northwest of Tehran.
It said the boy, who was in a coma, was taken to a provincial hospital for treatment after being freed 162 hours after the quake. The agency provided no other detail in its three-sentence report.
IRNA said 15 aftershocks Wednesday and today jolted the stricken northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan, which bore the brunt of the June 21 earthquake.
Officials of the Red Crescent, the Iranian equivalent of the Red Cross, said Wednesday that they have counted 40,000 dead and 60,000 injured. Government officials said earlier that 50,000 Iranians were killed, 200,000 injured and 500,000 left homeless.
Nearly 200 transports from 26 countries, including the United States, have airlifted urgently needed supplies in since the weekend, despite criticism of Western humanitarian aid by Iran’s isolationalist radicals.
IRNA said Mohammad Hassan Eftekhari, a member of the 270-seat Parliament who died in a helicopter crash Wednesday in the northwest, was given a hero’s burial in his hometown of Fouman in northern Iran.
Senior military and government officials attended a funeral procession for him in Rasht, the agency reported.
Four of the other 14 relief workers aboard the army’s U.S.-built CH-47 Chinook transport were critically injured when it crashed in bad weather in the mountainous Kelishom region in the southern sector of the quake zone.
Eftekhari had ″constantly supervised the relief operations″ since the earthquake struck, IRNA reported.
The Geophysics Center at Tehran University said the strongest of the latest aftershocks measured 4.8 on the Richter Scale. The killer quake registered between 7.3 and 7.7 on the scale, which is a gauge of the energy released by an earthquake. There have been more than 400 aftershocks in the devastated region in the last week, adding to the chaos and misery.
IRNA quoted an unidentified senior official at the Tehran center as saying the tectonic fault that caused the deadly quake was ″gradually stabilizing.″
That was welcome news for the thousands of Iranian and foreign rescue workers who have been clawing through the rubble of 342 flattened towns and villages in the rugged region.
The aftershocks have blocked roads, halting truck convoys carrying tents, blankets, medicine and food into the pulverized provinces.
IRNA said one of the latest temblors caused landslides blocked a key road between the devastated city of Rasht on the Caspian Sea and Rudbar to the southwest for the second time in a week.
″Efforts are under way to clear the road,″ the agency reported.
Relief officials in the stricken region northwest of Tehran said that with hope running out of still finding survivors trapped in the rubble, the relief operation is concentrating more on taking care of the living.
IRNA and official Tehran Radio reported another 20 aircraft carrying hundreds of tons of aid in an international relief operation have landed at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport in the last 24 hours.