Iranian Army’s rapid-response brigades deployed to quake-hit areas: Commander

Tasnim – Commander of Iran’s Army Ground Force Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari said the force’s rapid-response brigades have been dispatched to the western province of Kermanshah after a strong deadly earthquake hit the area.

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Brigadier General Heidari pointed to the latest relief operations in the province and said the army and other military forces are helping the quake-hit people and trying their hardest to ensure the security of the province.

Since the early hours of the tragic incident, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Army have rushed to the quake-hit areas to rescue the victims, he noted.

The commander further said that the rapid-response brigades, rescue units and the medical teams of the army have also been sent to the areas.

At least 372 people have been killed and 6,000 injured in the quake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, whose epicenter was near Halabjah, southeast of Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah.

The province of Kermanshah declared three days of mourning, as rescue teams from across the country have hurried to dig out survivors stuck under the rubble and save the wounded.

In a telephone conversation with President Hassan Rouhani after the natural disaster, Governor of Kermanshah Hooshang Bazvand expected that the death toll would rise.

Meanwhile, the provincial police chief, General Manouchehr Amanollahi assured people that full security prevails across the quake-hit areas, saying all roads are open and the traffic flow is normal.

One of the cities hit hardest by the massive quake is Sarpol-e Zahab. Witnesses say they were appalled to see the city skyline on Monday morning, saying half of the buildings seem to have been destroyed.

After a terrible night and ongoing blackout, Sarpol-e Zahab is receiving more rescue teams and sniffer dogs searching for survivors buried under the rubble.

Officials say access to rural areas is still limited.

Field hospitals have been set up in the quake-hit areas.

In a message on Monday morning, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei ordered all Iranian officials to rush to help a large number of people affected by the earthquake, and particularly rescue those trapped under rubble in the very first hours after the disaster.