TEHRAN – Iran is declining offers of assistance from other countries after twin earthquakes devastated rural villages in northwest Iran Aug. 11, killing at least 306 people, most of them women and children.
“Our prayers go out for those affected by these earthquakes. We are asking God to make His great love known to all those who are suffering,” said Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response. “We are monitoring the situation for ways we can help, but with the Iranian government rejecting help from the outside, it is unlikely Southern Baptists would mount an on-ground relief effort.”
The two earthquakes, measuring 6.4 and 6.3 in magnitude, struck in quick succession, leveling homes in an estimated 230 villages, the AFP news service reported.
Iran’s government has launched a fund to quickly rebuild homes in the mountainous region before the onset of winter, AFP noted. The Red Crescent Society is distributing tents, blankets, food and water to the 16,000 people left homeless by the quakes.
Authorities called off rescue operations on Sunday, saying all possible survivors had been recovered, AFP reported.
Several major fault lines run through Iran, which is prone to frequent earthquakes. In December 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake killed 31,000 people in the southeastern city of Bam.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – You can help survivors of natural disasters by donating to the World Hunger Fund at www.worldhungerfund.com. Compiled by Mark Kelly, who writes for Baptist Global Response.)