Humanitarian Health Action

Iran - Kerman earthquake preliminary situation report 1

Earthquake at Zarand
22 February 2005

A strong earthquake occurred at 05:55:24 local time on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 in Zarand , Kerman Province (Central Iran), 700 km from Tehran and 250 km from Bam with a magnitude of 6.4 on Richter scale. The information available from the Geophysics Institute of the University of Tehran on the earthquake show that the epicentre was the village of Heruz in the Kusaran district, sub-state of Ravan in Kerman province1.

Impact of the Earthquake

The earthquake has caused destruction to villages in Rooein Abad, Akbar, Asghar, Dehafkan, Behabad, Sardkooyeh, Fathabad, Motaharabad, Eslam Abad, Arjomandieh, Baharestan in the area (Source: IRCS). 70% of the buildings in six villages around Zarand have been damaged or destroyed2. Dahoone/Douhan village has been 100% destroyed, and 80% of Houtkan village is destroyed3. The total affected population is estimated to be 30 000 persons in 40 villages. The number of dead is not yet confirmed, at least 270 dead and 600 injured4. Villages and rural areas in Kerman province houses are built with mud-bricks, and there could be more causalities.

Out of the 78 health facilities in Zarand, five were completely damaged (one rural health centre and four health houses). No reports of deaths among health professionals have been received. 360 patients have been referred to the two referral hospitals in Kerman (Afzalipur General Hospital and Shahid Bahunar Hospital), 5 died there and 10 patients were admitted to the intensive care units. The injuries are mostly cut injuries, lower limb fractures and abdominal trauma. Both hospitals reported adequate number of staffing and adequate medical supplies for the moment.

The weather condition remains as a challenge to the relief operations and for the survivors. Heavy rain and snow are reported to hamper rescue work,5, which is expected to last until Thursday6. Some roads have already been washed away by rain.

The WHO Emergency and humanitarian action (EHA) team, positioned in Bam has reported that access to the earthquake hit area is difficult due to landslides. Electricity cut off in Zarand city7) and surrounding area could affect the functioning of health facilities. UNICEF has expressed concern for the lack of shelter for an estimated 80 000 persons left homeless under the rain with very low temperatures8.

The response

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has not requested international assistance. Relief teams from Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) centres and volunteers from Kerman, Yazd, Hormozgan and Sistan and Baluchistan provinces have been dispatched to the area. Eight search and rescue teams equipped with search dogs has also been sent to the region. Three IRCS helicopters are on the way to the earthquake stricken zones. 30 ambulances with medical teams from Kerman, Yazd, Sistan-Baluchistan provinces have been sent to Zarand. Three psycho-social support teams have been sent to the area by the IRCS.9

UNICEF country representative and UNICEF regional Director, who happened to be in Bam on a have already visited the area affected.

The United Nations Disaster Management team met at 15:30 today and established the UN disaster Management center. No request from a United Nations Disaster and Coordination team was made. WHO has expressed to the Minister of MOH&ME and to the Governor General of Kerman a letter assuring them of WHO's readiness to the support needed.

Actions taken by WHO

To address this evolving disaster due to earthquake WHO is on alert. A situation room is established in Tehran . The WHO EHA team positioned in Bam was dispatched to Kerman to assess the situation and has established contact with Kerman local authorities.

A joint assessment has been planned by WHO, UNICEF to asses the situation at Zarand. The local authorities have asked for tents and WHO Bam has arranged these from IRCS. Ten tents have been handed over to the government so far. The WHO team dispatched from Bam visited the hospitals. One mobile team from Tehran has left in the afternoon for Kerman equipped with necessary relief items including cash and logistics. This team consists of Two national Medical Officer, one Environmental Health Officer, Procurement Officer along with an International Staff. Communication with all the partners and government have been enhanced.

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1 Zarand city (60 km to the NW of Kerman city) in Kerman province and villages around are the most affected (www.reliefweb.int)
2 Source: BBC
3 Source: Reliefweb
4 Source : Office of Dr. Aflatunian VC University of Kerman as of 20:00 Tehran time
5 Source : BBC
6 Source: Reliefweb
7 Source : Reliefweb
8 Source: www.alertnet.org
9 Source : OCHA Tehran

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