Rescue efforts end after deadly Iran quake

And this is the question many have been grappling with over the past three days, after a devastating quake jolted an area near the Iran-Iraq border.

Thousands of people huddled in makeshift camps while many others chose to spend a second night in the open, despite low temperatures, because they feared more tremors after some 193 aftershocks, state television said.

Kermanshah's provincial officials said about 12,000 houses both in urban and rural regions across the province have been totally damaged due to the strong natural disaster.

Local health minister Rekawt Rasheed said the situation was "critical", made worse by the fact that the district's main hospital was badly damaged and without power.

"It is a very cold night. we need help". They had no blankets, no food, and no heaters in that cold weather.

By Monday, officials said all the roads in Kermanshah province had been reopened.

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water".

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Ali Gulani, 42, lives in the province's badly-hit town of Qasr-e-Shirin, and told BBC Persian people were burning crates to try to stay warm.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, one of the worst hit by the November 12 quake, on November 14 and gave a speech in which he asserted that the collapse of recently built buildings "should be investigated".

"I call on all governmental and military officials and all NGOs to help the Housing Foundation and do not do separate work".

Mr Rouhani, promising victims emergency financial assistance, said in Kermanshah: "I want to assure those who are suffering that the government has begun to act with all means at its disposal and is scrambling to resolve this problem as quickly as possible".

The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the immediate need was for tents, water and food. Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, authorities said, and several villages were completely wiped from the map.

Search and rescue operations are nearly complete while relief operations could take months, Mansoureh Bagheri, director of global operations at the Iranian Red Crescent, told CNN on Tuesday. Bagheri estimated that 70,000 people could be affected by the quake.

Officials in Iran declared Tuesday as a national day of mourning and newspapers broke with tradition to publish their front page headlines in the Kurdish language, in a rare move showing solidarity with the majority-Kurdish areas worst affected.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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