Red Crescent helping earthquake victims in Iran and Iraq

Iraq Red Crescent
Image: Iraq Red Crescent

A severe, 7.3 magnitude earthquake has caused widespread devastation in the border regions of Iran and Iraq.

Following the earthquake on Sunday evening, volunteers from the Red Crescent societies of both Iran and Iraq have been providing assistance in searching for victims and conducting rescue operations. 
The epicentre of the earthquake was located south of the city of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The earthquake caused the most damage in Iran, where, according to the Iranian Red Crescent, at least 328 people were killed and another 3,950 were injured. 
– The Iranian Red Crescent has sent in teams to provide shelter and first aid as well as search and rescue services following the earthquake, says Mansoureh Bagheri, the Iran Red Crescent Society's Director for international Operations.
The Iraqi Red Crescent reports that nine people were killed and over 425 were injured.
– Our teams started evacuating the injured and providing first aid to communities immediately after the earthquake. We are currently working around the clock in the areas devastated by the quake, says Mohamad Khosaii from the Iraqi Red Crescent.
Finnish Red Cross aid worker and logistician Toni Laitinen was at home in Erbil, Iraq, when the earthquake hit at approximately 21:20 local time.
– The Iraqi Red Crescent is providing the most severely affected areas with first aid kits as well as other material and transport aid. Aid is being sent out from Red Crescent warehouses refurbished by the Finnish Red Cross. The Turkish Red Crescent has also sent in large amounts of aid supplies as well as doctors, Laitinen says, describing the aid operations following the earthquake.
The Finnish Red Cross is providing aid to Iraq with the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the European Union and Finns who have donated to the Finnish Red Cross’ Disaster Relief Fund. The main focus is on strengthening the capacity of the Iraqi Red Crescent. 
In addition, the Red Cross has, with support from the EU, aided internally displaced people in Iraq by providing aid supplies, clean water and psychosocial support. 
Iraq has over three million internally displaced people and nearly 11 million people in need of humanitarian aid.