Leader Visits Quake-Hit Kermanshah, Calls for Intensified Aid Effort

A 7.3 magnitude quake rocked the western province of Kermanshah on Nov. 12, killing over 500 people, injuring thousands and damaging 30,000 homes
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei visits quake-stricken areas in Kermanshah Province on Nov. 20. Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei visits quake-stricken areas in Kermanshah Province on Nov. 20.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei visited the quake-stricken cities and villages of Kermanshah Province on Monday, where he called on government officials to do more to deliver much-needed aid and relief to the affected people.

“Officials have had a brilliant performance in some areas and worked hard … But I am still not quite satisfied and the authorities in various sectors are expected to redouble their efforts,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on his official website. He made the call in a public speech to the bereaved residents of Sarpol-Zahab County, the region hit hardest by the Nov. 12 earthquake.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake rocked the western province of Kermanshah and the regions bordering Iraq, killing over 500 people and injuring thousands of others, based on the figures released.       

It was Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade and left many of the survivors homeless and in dire need of food, water and shelter.

In some areas, no building was left standing and those that were had been deserted for fear they could come crashing down at any moment.

The mayor of Ezgeleh said 80% of its buildings had collapsed.

Houses in Iranian villages are often made of concrete blocks or mudbrick that can quickly collapse in a strong quake.

The earthquake sent thousands huddling in makeshift camps and made many others spend the following couple of nights in the open for fear of more tremors after about 200 aftershocks.

There were some complaints about the slow pace of aid and rescue operations, prompting a call by the Leader two days after the earthquake to speed up aid efforts.

President Hassan Rouhani had also paid a visit to the quake-stricken region, promising to resolve “the problems in the shortest time”.

Iran declined offers of foreign assistance to deal with the aftermath of the tremor, which officials said damaged 30,000 homes and completely destroyed two villages.

On the Iraqi side of the frontier, nine people were killed and over 550 injured, all in the northern Kurdish provinces. Iran is crisscrossed by major geological fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 quake in 2003 that reduced the historic southeastern city of Bam to dust and killed some 31,000 people. 


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