Iran Earthquakes: Pray For The Stricken Families Who Have Lost Loved Ones, and For Those Who Need Help:
Two Earthquakes, 6.4 and 6.3 Magnitude struck Iran on Saturday evening.
The Death Toll has, predictably, now risen to over 180 people now, 6 pm NZ time 12 August 2012. The numbers of those injured has risen from 400, the last figure given, to over 1500 at the last count. It is likely that there will be many more injured people who will need medical treatment.
Azerbaijan lies on a major fault line, and is prone to seismic activity. The people of the region are accustomed to earthquakes, and the national emergency centres are well-organized to cope with these disasters. There are two thousand ambulances currently working in the area.
Although some serious earthquakes have already been experienced in Iran, houses are still made of mud-brick. Mud-brick would seem to be a most unsuitable building material to use in such an earth-quake prone region. Mud-brick is a cheap building material, of course, but unfortunately it crumbles easily in a quake, unless there is a strong wooden or metal basis to the structure. This the reason so many houses have been destroyed in these earthquakes.
Telephone communication lines have been down in many parts of North Western Iran, in the province of Azerbaijan where the two major earthquakes struck yesterday. Because of the lines being out of action, the rescue effort to get people to treat the injured and get them to hospital was hampered, as people were unable to communicate their distress and their medical needs. It is still likely that communication has not been restored in some of the towns, and that there are still people who will need help.
BBC have just reported at 1 AM NZ time 13 August, that the rescue operations have ended in Azerbaijan, and the help is now being concentrated on the many thousands of people left homeless and hungry. They say that the villages in the outlying areas are small, and that people will know if there is anyone missing, and take care of the situation themselves.
BBC say tonight that the figure of those killed is 300 people, a 100 less than the report which came over our news at 6PM tonight, Sunday the 12th August. This news item from BBC at 1 AM might actually be an older recording replayed for us in NZ. 400 was the figure given by Prime News earlier in the evening.
The two earthquakes struck 11 minutes apart. The epicentre of the first was around 500 kilometers from the capital, Tehran, and around 60 kilometers from the city of Tabriz. Its depth was around 9.9 kilometers. The second quake was around 48 kilometers from Tabriz with a 9.8 kilometer depth, according to the US Geological Survey. There are no deaths reported from the big cities, but the nearby villages north-west of Tabriz have been badly affected.
Six villages have been completely flattened, with around 300 other villages being affected. The villages of Azar, Haris, and Varzaqan are among those villages most badly damaged, with most mud-brick homes there having being destroyed by the two earthquakes.
There have been many after shocks since the two big quakes on Saturday, which have made many people unsure about the safety of their own houses.
Emergency shelter is being provided for the homeless and for those too afraid to return home. Tents, blankets and food are arriving to the region to help the thousands of earthquake victims. Many goods have been donated by the people of Tehran. Turkey, an immediate neighbour of Iran, has provided much of the outside help, in addition to the services provided by Iran’s national help centre.
Nuclear Disaster Always Is Possiblity In An Earthquake: These earthquakes should be a warning about the danger of establishing nuclear power stations in earthquake-prone regions such as Azerbaijan in North Western Iran. Nuclear power stations, and nuclear weaponry, are dangerous things to have anywhere in the world, but they should especially be avoided in places where earthquakes are common. The radioactive pollution which came from Fukushima in Japan, following the quake and tsunami there last year, is something we should learn from. Nuclear power, and nuclear weapons, should be abandoned by Iran, and by all countries in the world, including the big powers such as China and America.
BBC News at 2 AM NZ time, 13 August, say that the number of injured now exceeds 2000 people. Many people are being housed in sports stadiums as well as tents.