Kurdish Olympic weightlifter will auction gold medal to aid quake victims

Saul Bowman
November 15, 2017

Tens of thousands of Iranians spent a second night in the open after a 7.3-magnitude quake struck near the border with Iraq, killing more than 400 people.

This quake struck just after 9 p.m. on Sunday, and has been recognized as the strongest natural disaster to ever hit the Western part of Iran.

But some survivors said not enough was being done. Bagheri estimated that 70,000 people could be affected by the natural disaster.

Numerous damaged buildings were built during former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration, though some of them were completed and handed over to the residents under Rouhani.

In the district of Shahid Shiroudi, the frames and ceilings of the Maskan-e Mehr apartment blocks withstood the quake but their facades collapsed.

We have water and food but no tent.

"I consider it my duty to take a step, however small, to help my beloved fellow countrymen who have suffered as a result of the quake", Rostami was quoted by Iranian state news agency Tasnim.

Ahoora Niazi, who lives in Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province, filmed scenes of ruin and posted the videos on the social media. Some structures appeared unscathed.

Red Crescent Relief and Rescue teams from Kurdistan and Markazi provincial branches are providing relief and rescue services in the city of Salase-Babajani, teams from Lorestan to Qasre-Shirin and teams from Hamedan to Sare-Pule-Zahab.

The town centre was clogged with traffic as people from the surrounding province rushed to help with rescue efforts. Iraq's Red Crescent put the toll at nine dead.

But some did not have shelter in a region where temperatures dropped to 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday night.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif thanked foreign countries offering to help but wrote on Twitter: "For now, we are able to manage with our own resources".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in the morning in the earthquake-stricken area in Kermanshah and promised that the government "will use all its power to resolve the problems in the shortest time".

Rouhani said all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, a charitable trust and major player in Iran's economy.

"Newly constructed buildings... held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed", he told state television.

Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, with some villages completely wiped from the map.

Three days of mourning have been ordered for those in Kermanshah.

Ali Daei, a legend of Iranian football and former national team coach, launched an appeal for food and basic supplies.

In Iraq, the health ministry said the quake had killed seven people in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah and one in Diyala province to its south.

Thousands of homeless Iranians sought shelter from bitter cold Tuesday as President Hassan Rouhani promised swift help after a major quake that killed more than 400 people.

Iran sees frequent seismic activity. In Iran's Kermanshah province killed 61 people, more than 300 were injured. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. Searchers used dogs to comb the debris - just as they have since Iran's 2003 quake in Bam that killed 26,000 people - although some clerics insist the animals are unclean.

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