UN Ready to Support Quake Relief Efforts

UN Ready to Support Quake Relief EffortsUN Ready to Support Quake Relief Efforts

Concluding a two-day visit to Iran, the top United Nations humanitarian official said the world body is ready to fill any gaps in relief efforts following the devastating Nov. 12 earthquake that struck the Iran-Iraq border.

"I commend the [Iranian] government's efforts to save lives and alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people in the earthquake zone," Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said on Thursday, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the official website of the UN.

"During my visit, I also reiterated the UN's readiness to support the government by providing humanitarian aid if it is required to fill any gaps in response."

In his meetings with senior officials, Lowcock discussed the promotion of emergency preparedness, international cooperation in disaster response, enhancing the capacity of urban rescue and relief teams and exchanging technical expertise with Iran.

He welcomed the "Getting Airports Ready for Disasters" exercise that will take place in Iran at the end of November.

Lowcock met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Interior Minister Ramezan Shojaei Kiasari. His discussions with Iranian officials also covered major crises, including in Syria and Yemen, and the situation of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. He urged the Iranian government to help facilitate response efforts, assist crisis-affected people and aid humanitarian programs.

The massive quake killed over 500 people and injured thousands in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah and damaged at least 30,000 homes.

The UN Population Fund has scaled up its emergency response to meet the needs of women and girls in Iraq, in the wake of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake, which struck an area 30 km southwest of Halabja.

Access to essential, life-saving reproductive health services was also disrupted, with three health facilities damaged in Darbandixan and Halabja alone.

To provide natural delivery services round the clock, UNFPA has deployed a mobile gynecology clinic to the Shahid Azadi Mama Alaa Primary Health Clinic, the only functioning health facility in Darbandixan, the area that has suffered the most serious damage.

UNFPA is also distributing medicines, reproductive health kits and dignity kits, which contain essential hygiene supplies, including soap and sanitary napkins.

In addition, the agency provides much-needed psychosocial support in Darbandixan and plans to conduct psychosocial sessions in Halabja as well.


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