FNA- The Iranian government and military forces launched massive relief and rescue operations in the quake-stricken areas in Western Iran on Monday, pressing men and machine into service in the ravaged regions.
“21 helicopters, 3 airplanes, 140 ambulances and a number of sniffer dogs have been sent to the quake-hit areas so far,” Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for Iran’s National Disaster Management Organization, said on Monday morning.
Also, an airplane carrying the wounded people landed at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on Monday while Tehran’s Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi announced that a team of rescue workers along with relief aid and foodstuff will be sent to the quake-hit areas in Western Iran by Monday noon.
Meantime, a number of ATK helicopters have been sent from the adjacent provinces of Kerman, Lorestan and Hamedan to Kermanshah province to distribute fuel among people whose houses have ruined or damaged in the earthquake.
Also, the military airbases in Shiraz, Dezfoul, Tehran and Hamedan have been ordered to prepare for sending C-130 planes to transfer aid and wounded people.
Also, a number of high-ranking Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Army commanders, including their chief commanders, have traveled to Western Iran to supervise and manage relief and rescue operations by their forces.
A strong earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale rattled all cities and towns along Iran’s Western border with Iraq on Sunday, killing at least 336 people.
The Seismological center of the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University registered the quake that was felt across Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon at 21:48 hours local time (18:18 GMT).
The epicenter of the quake that was felt deep in Iran was located in the depth of 11km in an area 45.9 degrees in longitude and 34.84 degrees in latitude, South of the town of Azgaleh in Iran’s Western province of Kermanshah.
The quake has so far been followed by over 135 aftershocks ranging from 2 to 5 in magnitude.
The powerful jolt made people in the capital, Tehran, and a number of other cities including Tabriz and Isfahan pour into the streets in panic.
The quake has destroyed a number of buildings in rural areas and caused cracks in the walls of villages and towns in a number of towns some 122km to the West of Kermanshah city. Reports said a sum of 336 people have been killed and more than 3,950 others have been injured in Iran’s Western city of Qasr-e Shirin, Azgaleh and number of other towns and villages, while reports from Iraq mentioned a number of casualties and destruction of buildings in 8 villages.
Latest reports said that a number of schools in Kermanshah province have been damaged and some of them have destroyed completely.
Phone, Internet and powerlines are down in a number of nearby towns and villages.
Iran is criss-crossed with fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes, experiencing at least one slight tremor every day on average.
Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth’s crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.
The worst in recent times hit Bam in southeastern Kerman province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people – about a quarter of its population – and destroying the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.
The deadliest quake in the country was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. It devastated 27 towns and about 1,870 villages.
Tehran alone sits on two major fault lines, and the capital’s 14 million residents fear a major quake.