Iran, Islamic Republic of

UNICEF responds quickly to strong earthquake in Iran


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ZARAND, Iran, 22 February 2005 – A powerful earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the town of Zarand in south-eastern Iran, early this morning. More than 30,000 people are affected by the disaster, many of them children. Some villages have been completely wiped out.

UNICEF Country Representative Kari Egge witnessed firsthand the aftermath of the earthquake. “The village that we visited today is completely devastated. There are no structures, no buildings left. I did not see any other people than the people who died during the earthquake. Two villages in the high mountains are cut off completely and 10 other villages are more or less affected.”

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© UNICEF Iran/2005
At least thirteen villages around Zarand, in south-eastern Iran, were hit by the quake.

More than 270 people are confirmed dead and the number is expected to rise. “Of course children are among the most vulnerable. When it happened, around five or six o’clock in the morning, most children were asleep. Many suffocated, others were hit by the rubble and covered completely by the debris,” said Ms. Egge.

The earthquake has revived painful memories of the devastating Bam quake in 2003. That tragedy killed more than 30,000 people and left 80,000 homeless.

Ms. Egge said that the experience UNICEF had helping children and their families recover from the Bam earthquake has proven to be invaluable. She explained that staff who had been working in Bam were called immediately to the epicentre of the Zarand quake.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Iran/2005
Villages located closest to the mountains were among the hardest hit. Some were completely wiped out.

“We met there and made the rapid assessment. I think Bam is an enormous learning experience. It also gave us this opportunity now to respond immediately when we were called upon.”

Working closely with the Iranian Red Crescent Society and the Iranian government, UNICEF is ready to help trace all children who have been lost or separated from their families. The organization is working on bringing clean water and setting up adequate sanitation facilities for children and families. UNICEF will conduct a further assessment of the damage to schools, with a view to helping get children back to school as soon as possible.


 

 

Audio


22 February 2005: UNICEF Country Representative Kari Egge describes what she saw in the aftermath of the Zarand earthquake.
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