Iran ends quake rescue operations as hungry survivors battle the cold

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Iran ends quake rescue operations as hungry survivors battle the cold

One of the region's worst quakes struck Bam in Iran in 2003 and killed at least 31,000 people.

"We need help. We need everything".

"The weather is turning colder now".

Well Semin... Iran's state-run news agency says the death toll from Sunday's 7.3 magnitude quake stands at more than 530. In General, we are talking about a sparsely populated mountainous region.

The quake, centred in Penjwin in Iraq's Sulaimaniyah province in the Kurdistan region, killed at least six people in Iraq and injured more than 68. The housing was built as a part of the "Mehr" or "kindness" project of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A rescue worker searches the debris with his sniffing dog on the quake site in Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran on November 14.

"The tents provided by the Red Crescent are not enough", said the region's parliamentary representative, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA).

The epicentre lay 30km (18 miles) south of Halabja in Iraq, but nearly all of the casualties occurred in Iran's Kurdish heartland, in the country's marginalised north-west.

"More people will die because of cold".

Meantime, five groups of injured people were transferred to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Monday to receive further treatments. Angry residents have been heard blaming poor construction quality and government corruption for the heavy death toll.

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

"Today, we sent our ambulances to villages in areas affected by the quake to help people rescued yesterday, including changing their bandages", he said. Water and electricity are now inaccessible in many areas of the province. The Iranian Red Crescent Society workers and the army soldiers were helpful.

Ali Gulani, 42, who lives in the province's badly-hit town of Qasr-e-Shirin, told BBC that people were burning crates to try to stay warm.

Besides, Mohammad Ali Bosaqzadeh, deputy for production control at the National Petrochemical Company, said that the strong natural disaster has damaged neither the petrochemical plants in western provinces nor the West Ethylene Pipeline that runs from Asalouyeh by the Persian Gulf to West Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran.

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 natural disaster.

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