With Iran’s Government reporting heavy casualties from an earthquake which rocked the southeastern part of the country, the United Nations today dispatched funds and experts to bolster relief efforts.
In New York, a spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the international community to provide immediate backing for efforts to help victims of the massive disaster.
“The United Nations Country Team in Tehran has sent two teams to the affected area,” Mr. Annan’s spokesman said. “In addition, a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team has been dispatched to help coordinate relief efforts.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also providing Iran with an initial emergency grant of $90,000.
Registering 6.3 on the Richter scale, the quake struck earlier today in and around the town of Bam, in Kerman province. OCHA said the city hospital had collapsed and the injured were being sent to Kerman. Telephone service and water and power supplies have been cut off, while some 60 per cent of the area’s houses were destroyed.
The town is famous for its ancient citadel, Arg-e-Bam, which has been registered as a world heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).