Armenian Search and Rescue Team Helps Quake Victims

BAM (Combined Sources)–A team of Armenian rescuers departed for Iran on December 29 to take part in search and rescue efforts in the historical city Bam after an earthquake rocked the city last Friday–leveling most of the city.

The Armenian team of thirty rescuers with trained dogs–five medics–and five seismologists will took along 15 cases with medication and equipment necessary for the rescue work–Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparian told the press.

Several Foreign Ministry officials accompanied the rescuers–to work as interpreters.

IRNA reported that Iranian Armenia’s residing in Iran’s northwestern province of Azarbaijan–voiced readiness on Sunday to extend relief assistance to quake victims.

The Armenian Prelacy Council in the region said that all donations from the community will be presented to the Red Crescent Society (RCS) for distribution.

HOPES FADING

Meanwhile–hopes faded last night of finding more survivors–and the United Nations said the search could be wound up on Monday.

With the death toll from Friday’s earthquake standing at more than 20,000–a Swiss rescue team pulled out yesterday after spending two days picking through the rubble of the mud-brick city in south-eastern Iran without finding a single survivor.

It is rare for people buried alive in earthquakes to survive for more than three days. In Iran’s desert region–the night-time temperatures plunge below freezing.

"The city was 90 per cent destroyed–and the people were crushed–suffocated or frozen in the rubble," said Roland Schlachter–the head of the Swiss relief operation.

Teams from 16 countries are taking part in humanitarian missions. The UN said yesterday that no more and search-and-rescue operatives were necessary. But there remained an urgent need for supplies–especially shelter–medicine–mobile hospitals and water purification equipment.

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