Iran quake: Death toll soars to more than 450


Iran quake: Death toll soars to more than 450

Less than 48 hours after the natural disaster hit Iraq and Iran, authorities in Iran have called off rescue efforts, saying there's little chance of finding survivors in the country's quake-prone western region.

Iranian state TV said thousands of survivors had spent another night in makeshift camps or in the open.

"What we need is a tent and covers to be able to get through the night", said 24-year-old mother Shima Maryami Kiani.

While visiting the region on Tuesday, a national day of mourning, President Hassan Rouhani pointed out that many privately-built homes appeared to have been spared damage. "The authorities should speed up their help", the BBC quoted a homeless young woman in Sarpol-e-Zahab, the town with the maximum number of victims.

On Tuesday afternoon, residents of Sar-e Pol-e Zahab helped police evacuate an elderly man, his face caked in blood, from a home at risk of imminent collapse.

As many as 3,950 people have been injured, Iran's Tasnim news agency said.

The Iranian Red Crescent said many areas lacked water and electricity and that aid supplies were being hampered by blocked roads. "The faults and shortcomings in the construction of these buildings should be investigated".

She said now that rescue operations had ended, the priority was getting people into shelters as quickly as possible, and that the delivery of aid was on track.

About 30 Red Crescent teams were working in the quake zone.

The 7.3-magnitude quake struck villages and towns in the mountainous area of Kermanshah province that borders Iraq.

Kianoush Rostami, Iran's gold medal weightlifter in Rio's 2016 Olympic Games who hails from the earthquake-ravished city of Kermanhshah, has chose to auction his prized possession.

Also, 40 ambulances, 55 4WD vehicles, 9 rescue vehicles, and 5 helicopters have been dispatched by Relief and Rescue Organisation of the Iranian Red Crescent Society from the first hours of the morning for assistance. Tremors were felt as far away as Turkey, Israel, Kuwait and Pakistan.