Iran's Rouhani inspects quake damages, pledges compensation to losses

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-15 02:52:55|Editor: Lu Hui
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IRAN-SARPOL-E ZAHAB-EARTHQUAKE-AFTERMATH

Rescuers search for survivors after an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab city, western Iran, Nov. 14, 2017. A magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolted the Iran-Iraq border area Sunday, causing the deaths of at least 445 people while injuring more than 7,000. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

TEHRAN, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday travelled to Iran's western Kermanshah province to inspect the damage and rescue operations in the regions hit by a deadly earthquake on Sunday night, state TV reported.

Rouhani extended condolences to the families of victims of the huge earthquake that claimed the lives of hundreds and injured thousands.

He said that the government will take all efforts to solve the problems in the region in the shortest possible time and will help the affected people rebuild their dwellings.

The Iranian Army, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the voluntary Basij forces, the Red Crescent and the Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation as well as the ministries of energy, interior affairs, health, and roads and urban development are all providing assistance to the people in need, Rouhani said.

The Sunday night quake's epicenter, measuring 7.3 magnitude on the Richter scale, was located approximately 32 km south of the city of Halabja in a remote mountainous region of eastern Iraq, some 200 km north-east of Baghdad and 400 km west of Tehran, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The quake hit the area at 9:18 p.m. local time (0018 GMT), when many people would have been at home, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

So far, over 230 after-shakes varied from 4.5 to 6.1 magnitude have hit the region.

The preliminary estimated loss caused by the recent strong quake in Iran stood around 450 million U.S. dollars, Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.

A report on the quake's damage inflicted on the residential, commercial, industrial, and administrative structures was handed over to President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday, the Construction Deputy of Kermanshah province governor office, Mojtaba Nik-Kerdar, was quoted as saying.

Some 11,000 residential buildings in the rural areas plus 5,000 residential buildings in urban areas have been ruined, Nik-Kerdar said.

Immense restoration of damaged structures should start immediately, Nik-Kerdar added.

During Rouhani's visit to the quake-stricken areas in Kermanshah province on Tuesday, the president pledged to allocate sizeable fund for the reconstruction of the buildings.

In the meantime, Financial Tribune daily reported on Tuesday production activities at Iran's Azar oilfield and petrochemical plants in the western provinces have not been affected by the deadly earthquake on Sunday night.

"The earthquake has done no harm to the oilfield's installations and there is no reason for worry," Keyvan Yarahmadi, an official with the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company, was quoted as saying.

Yarahmadi noted that crude oil extraction at Azar oil field, in the Ilam province, is underway as usual.

Besides, Mohammad Ali Bosaqzadeh, deputy for production control at the National Petrochemical Company, said that the strong earthquake has damaged neither the petrochemical plants in western provinces nor the West Ethylene Pipeline that runs from Asalouyeh by the Persian Gulf to West Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran.

"Petrochemical complexes in Ilam, Kermanshah, Mahabad and Kurdestan are up and running," Bosaqzadeh said.

"Structurally, the plants comply with modern engineering standards and there is nothing to worry about in such critical situations," he added.

According to the latest figures, about 445 people have lost their lives and over 7,800 others sustained injuries in the tremor.

Along with the officials, Iranian people have also mobilized in response to the natural disaster to donate blood and prepare aid packages.

The rescue and relief operations to help people affected by a massive earthquake is nearing completion, Tasnim quoted head of the country's Emergency Medical Service as saying.

Messages of the condolences and help offers continue to pour in from around the world.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appreciated the messages of sympathy from around the world.

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