Responding to Saturday's devastating earthquake in western Iran, the United Nations has rushed experts and aid to the hardest-hit parts of the country.
A three-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team arrived today in Tehran and met with the UN Resident Coordinator and members of the UN Security Management and Disaster squad. They were de-briefed on a UN Field Assessment Team mission that was deployed the day the earthquake hit.
The UNDAC Team was expected to remain in the field "as long as required to comprehensively assess relief requirements and monitor the effectiveness of delivery," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
Citing statistics from Iran's Ministry of Interior, OCHA reported that the earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, killed 229 people and injured 1,300 others.
While estimates of the number of homeless varied, a preliminary survey conducted by the Ministry indicated that more than 19,000 dwellings were demolished or severely damaged, OCHA said. The Iranian Red Crescent Society reported that some 25,000 people have been left homeless.
Meanwhile, numerous UN agencies have been providing aid to the country. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) arranged for the immediate release of five emergency health kits, each covering the primary health care needs of 50,000 people. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) was providing water tankers, chlorine tablets and other chemicals for water purification. That agency was also offering the use of trucks for logistics and could provide additional emergency tents for up to 80,000 people.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) was prepared to feed 15,000 people for two to four weeks, while the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said it would provide seeds and fertilizer and help Iran to rehabilitate affected irrigation networks and farm areas. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) said it would provide an immediate emergency grant of $50,000 for coordination purposes and logistics.