A devastating earthquake hit the Iranian city of Bam on Friday 26 December in the early hours of the morning. Measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake is thought to have killed 40,000 people and injured thousands of others. Many more are thought to be alive but buried under the rubble.
A Humanitarian Disaster
Around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south-east of Tehran , Bam has a population of 90,000, and the wider district is home to 200,000 residents. The most recent estimates predict that around 40,000 people were crushed to death as buildings collapsed and were reduced to rubble. Most people in the city of 90,000 were asleep when the earthquake, measured at magnitude 6.6 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck about 5:30 a.m. Friday. Aftershocks registered as high as magnitude 5.3. More than 70 per cent of the city has been destroyed.
Two of the main hospitals in the city also crumbled, killing or wounding most of their staff and patients. The only hospitals still functioning in Bam have been overwhelmed by the number of injured people, leaving many victims to be treated in the rubble-strewn streets or taken to other towns.
Thousands of survivors are now homeless, huddled together on the streets in what is a bitterly cold winter of sub-zero temperatures. Water, electricity and gas supplies have also been cut, as have telephone and radio communications within the city.
The government of Iran has asked for urgent international assistance, stating it is too big a tragedy for the country to cope alone. Immediate priorities are to rescue those are still buried under the rubble, provide survivors with temporary shelter and medical assistance, and deliver essential materials such as medical supplies, water purification equipment, electricity generators, tents and blankets.
The Red Crescent, the Islamic equivalent of the Red Cross, is co-ordinating the rescue effort on the ground. The IRC will join fellow British rescue operation Rapid UK who are sending up to 20 staff to Iran. The immediate priority is search and rescue for those still trapped in the rubble, and medical care for the injured. Bam’s only surviving hospital is completely overwhelmed; the injured are being flown to Kerman, 125 miles away, where they are being stabilized before being flown on to Tehran and Isfahan.
Providing shelter for those facing the freezing desert night is also urgent and critical. With both water and electricity cut off, most local people are having to rely on open fires, with temperatures falling as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius.
Helping the people of Bam has become a genuinely global effort, with assistance pouring in from all four corners of the Earth. Other search and rescue teams, together with relief supplies, have been dispatched from countries including Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Austria and Turkey. At moments of great human need like this, we must do all that we can to help.
I make a special appeal to the medical community, homeopaths, and visitors to this site at large to come forward and help the victims of this devastating earthquake. The medical community from the neighboring countries can join the rescue efforts directly. Others can make a contribution by making donations through the following websites –
Iranian Red Cross – http://www.rcs.ir/
International Red Cross – http://www.ifrc.org/
Islamic Relief –
The homeopathic community can help the survivors of the quake by providing free consultation and medicines. The Gujrat earthquake did show the need for medical help for the psychological trauma affected due to loss of loved ones, property and general fear which develops due to such devastation. Homeopathy can do wonders in helping such grief-stricken brethren of ours. Let us all come together in this hour of need for Iran. Let us forget our nationality and political differences for some time and help the people as humans who need help.
I appeal everyone to forward this message to everyone they know so that maximum aid can reach the earthquake victims.