The 6.1 weekend quake in northwest Iran left rural villagers in need of water, water pumps, water tankers, water purification tablets and machines, electricity generators, field hospitals, first aid equipment, group tents, and money.
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), a member of the faith-based emergency response coalition Action by Churches Together (ACT), was working with the Iranian Red Crescent Society to meet these immediate needs.
ACT reported that 52 villages in Qazvin, 11 villages in Hamadan, and four villages and the city of Khodabande in Zanjan were severely damaged. ACT also reported that, although most electricity and telephone lines are reconnected, water pipes are out of order.
The quake took more than 200 lives as hundreds of mud-brick homes collapsed. More than 1,000 injured people overwhelmed hospitals.
The quake was centered some 70 miles southwest of the city of Oazvin, which is west of the capital Tehran.
On May 10, 1997, a quake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale killed 1,560 people in rural eastern Iran near the Afghan border.
After conducting assessments of needs from that quake, Church World Service found lack of shelter and medical facilities greatly hampered relief efforts. Many villages were cut off from the rest of the world by landslides. The region's relatively under-developed infrastructure, including communication and transportation systems, were seriously crippled.
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