Washington, DC, January 8, 2004 - In a continued response to the devastating earthquake in Bam, several US based relief organizations have strengthened their activities in providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the earthquake in Iran. Though the full extent of the casualties is not yet known, the earthquake has claimed an estimated 30,000 lives. Tens of thousands of others were left homeless. Historic losses of Bam's architectural treasures compounded the overwhelming loss of human life.
Updates from the Relief Agencies
An AmeriCares airlift carrying emergency relief supplies landed in Kerman, Iran on Dec. 31. Valued at more than $3 million, the airlift contained 80,000 pounds of urgently needed aid, including, antibiotics, IV sets, four WHO (World Health Organization) Emergency Health Kits (each provide basic medicines and medical supplies for 30,000 people for one month), tents, blankets, and other relief materials.
Medicines, medical supplies, blankets, tents, warm clothes, canned food, power generators, and water purification tablets/devices continue to top the needs list at present. AmeriCares will continue to monitor the situation and send aid as Bam strives to rebuild.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is coordinating its response to the Bam earthquake with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the Federation). The American Red Cross relief goods stored in Bulgaria, including tents, blankets, water containers, and plastic sheets (tarpaulin), have been distributed in Bam. Highly trained personnel from International Response Team at the American Red Cross arrived in Bam the weekend of January 3-4. Additional items will be distributed in the weeks to come.
The American Red Cross is also helping connect individuals here at home with loved ones in Iran, and is accepting International Disaster Welfare Inquiries at Red Cross chapters nationwide. Red Cross volunteers at local chapters will collect information on relatives believed to be missing and send these inquiries to International Services staff at American National Red Cross headquarters, who will then work directly with their partner society in Iran to locate missing family members.
According to the American Red cross, financial contributions will allow them to support the greatest needs in the most efficient manner. Cash can be used to purchase items such as tents and blankets in Iran, and eliminate the added costs involved in transporting goods. People who wish for their donation to be designated to the Iran earthquake relief operation can simply indicate this desire in the memo section of their checks.
Bam, Iran Earthquake Victims Relief Fund
In lieu of the recent earthquake in Bam, a coalition of humanitarian associations, 501© (3) non-for-profit organizations, and philanthropists, have actively set up an ad-hoc Committee to solicit and collect funds so as to express the community's sympathy toward the victims of this catastrophic calamity. It is anticipated that one million Americans of Iranian heritage will play a crucial role in this urgent project. The Committee consists of the Persian Cultural Foundation (973-772-0702), the Persian Cultural and Humanitarian Association (http://www.pchanj.com), the Iranian-American Medical Association-NY Chapter (http://www.iama.org), the Iranian-American Society of New York (http//www.iasny.com), the Iranian Friendship Association (917-491-IRAN, or 917-491-PARS), the Shiraz University School of Medical Sciences Alumni Association(http://www.susma.com), and the Iranian-American Jewish Federation of New York (PO Box 1667, New York, N.Y. 10156.)
The Committee supports a comprehensive plan to minimize the impact of the earthquakes in Iran providing the plan is implemented under the charter of UNESCO.
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Children of Persia
Children of Persia, in coordination with its Iranian NGO partner, Noor-e-Fadak, aim to do two things for this post-earthquake disaster effort. First, they will be "adopting" health facilities to assist in their reconstruction. These two organizations will use their expertise collaboratively to design and construct a rural health center in Zabol, Iran.
Also, Children of Persia is working with WATEK Engineering, experienced in the design and construction of water treatment facilities, to assist in the assessment process. WATEK Engineering president, Ben Movahed, is in direct consultation with personnel from Noor-e-Fadak.
Children of Persia's goal through these projects is not only to help rebuild this area, but to provide facilities that will reduce the future vulnerabilities of the area in the event of future earthquakes.
Mercy Corps relief workers arrived in Bam less than 24 hours after the earthquake. Mercy Corps’ Bam Response team has procured thousands of relief items including blankets, heaters, water and other critical items. Mercy Corps is the first U.S. relief agency officially licensed to work in Iran and has been in the country for two years.
According to Mercy Corps, all funds raised for the Iran Earthquake Fund are used accordingly to directly support relief efforts on the ground. More than 92 percent of our resources are directed to humanitarian efforts, and Worth Magazine has named Mercy Corps one of America's Best Charities for two consecutive years.
In response to the earthquake in Bam, the Cisco Systems Foundation will match employee donations made to Relief International’s Iran Earthquake Relief Fund dollar-for-dollar until January 16, 2004. Donations from this matching program will be allocated by Relief International to the reconstruction of a specific village in the name of Cisco System and Cisco employees. The approximate cost for the reconstruction of each family shelter is $2,000.
Relief International disaster relief team had been in northern Iran’s Qazvin province working on the reconstruction of schools destroyed by the recent earthquake there in 2002. The team was immediately dispatched to Bam to procure and provide urgently needed supplies. In the next phase Relief International will begin to reconstruct shelter for some 500 low-income families who have lost their homes in Bam and 28 of the surrounding villages.