Thousands Homeless After Iran Earthquake

More than 70,000 people have been left homeless after an earthquake struck the western region of Iran.

The 7.3 magnitude quake left survivors to camp out for a second straight night in close to freezing temperatures, which could drop to as low as 12 degrees in Sarpol-e Zahab, the worst-hit city.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani visited the city on Tuesday and vowed to build 30,000 houses for survivors.

However, it remains unclear how the government will provide temporary shelter for people who have been displaced.

An estimated 11,000 homes in rural areas and 4,500 in cities have been destroyed.

Many survivors have either lost their houses or were too afraid to return to damaged homes because of aftershocks, choosing to camp outside despite the cool weather.

More than 230 aftershocks have been recorded in Kermanshah, Tasnim News Agency reported.

More than 450 people have been killed and 7,000 others injured in Iran’s Kermanshah province following the earthquake.

At least seven people were killed and 300 injured from the quake in Iraq.

Iran’s Red Crescent Society spokesperson Mansoureh Bagheri told Al Jazeera they had reached more than 90 per cent of the areas affected by the quake.

“I can say that most of the rescue operations have been completed,” she said.

Red Crescent has also sent helicopters to the remotest areas hit.

10,000 tents, 20,000 blankets and 185,000 canned goods have been sent to affected areas but it is not known whether provisions have reached those in need.

“We focused on providing shelter and food because of the severe weather and cold temperatures,” Bagheri also said.

The Iranian government is expected to institute measures to respond to the disaster.

“I think you are going to see a more robust government response in the coming days,” National Iranian American Council spokeperson Reza Marashi told Al Jazeera in an interview.

“If you don’t see that response from the government, then you will start to see outrage from the people, which is the last thing the Iranian government is going to want.”

Picture Courtesy: Hassan Rouhani

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