Iran quake toll reaches 540, survivors plead for help


The headline of a state newspaper read "Iran cries with Kermanshah", referring to the Kurdish-majority province. Ali Daei, football coach and former player and world record holder for worldwide goalscoring, was among the first to help those in need by starting a campaign in Tehran to gather humanitarian aid for Kermanshah.

At least 450 people have been killed and thousands are injured near the Iran-Iraq border after the region was rocked by a powerful 7.3 magnitude quake, authorities said Monday. In General, we are talking about a sparsely populated mountainous region.

Moreover, two major Iranian football clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis, provided 2,000 blankets to be distributed among people, in the quake-stricken regions in western Iran, whose houses have been damaged and who are left without shelter in the cold weather.

The Mehr housing project was implemented under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration (2005-13) to provide affordable housing to low-income families.

Local health minister Rekawt Rasheed said the situation was "critical", made worse by the fact that the district's main hospital was badly damaged and without power.

And this is the question many have been grappling with over the past three days, after a devastating natural disaster jolted an area near the Iran-Iraq border. Angry residents have been heard blaming poor construction quality and government corruption for the heavy death toll.

"Today, we sent our ambulances to villages in areas affected by the quake to help people rescued yesterday, including changing their bandages", he said.

Rescuers used backhoes and other heavy equipment to dig through toppled buildings in Sarpol-e-Zahab, home to more than half of the dead.

"Even in Sarpol-e Zahab, there were not enough tents and goods for the affected people", said the reporter.

Search and rescue operations are nearly complete while relief operations could take months, Mansoureh Bagheri, director of global operations at the Iranian Red Crescent, told CNN on Tuesday. For more on these we turn to our Ro Aram... Water and electricity are now inaccessible in many areas of the province. Iran's Kermanshah province, where most of the damage occurred, is home to both Shia and Sunni Muslims.

"It was so cold that we had to go inside our vehicle to get warm, but fuel is low and running out".

"There's no food", he added.

Akbari said that in addition to medicine, water and food, the city needs 6,000 blankets and tents for emergency settlements for the people of two nearby towns and 25 villages devastated by the quake.

"People in some villages are still in dire need of food, water and shelter", governor of Qasr-e Shirin Faramarz Akbari told state television.