OVER 70,000 people in Iran are in need of shelter following the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the country’s western province of Kermanshah on Sunday at 21:21 local time.
According to the Iranian Red Crescent more than 70,000 people are forced to spend nights outdoors in bitterly cold temperatures following the onset of winter in the region. Night time temperatures drop to near freezing point.
“It is difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off ... there have been landslides," said Iran's emergency services head Pir Hossein Koolivand.
In the wake of the earthquake, several cities have been cut off from electricity while a number of schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces have been forced to close.
Survivors of the earthquake, which has been described as the deadliest in 2017, have asked authorities to quickly send food, water and shelter. They complained that it is taking too long for aid to reach them. It is likely that there will also be a call for information about how to trace family members and requests for guidance on shelter as people will be afraid to go back into damaged houses, followed by queries about what to do due to lost personal documentation or property deeds and other legal issues.
Search and rescue of survivors has been called off.
Meanwhile, Iran's Red Crescent has turned down international help to deal with the earthquake aftermath.
However, the Turkish Red Crescent Emergency Response team was on hand and deployed a team to the Turkey-Iraq border crossing immediately after the earthquake struck. Turkish team brought 55 truckloads of humanitarian supplies that include tents, blankets, heaters, mattresses and a mobile kitchen.
The United Nations has also sent assistance to Kurdistan in Iraq.
The epicentre of the earthquake was in the mountainous region of Iranian near the border with Iraq, hundreds of people died and left over 8,000 injured. According to IRIN, the death toll is expected to further rise. Fatalities are believed to be higher than previously thought as some families buried their loved ones before the arrival of humanitarian assistance.
The earthquake is reportedly said to have only lasted 4 minutes and much of its effect was in western Iran were close to 700 people died. While in neighbouring Iraq, the fatalities were lower with about 10 people died while 425 people were injured.
Read more about information and communication needs following an earthquake