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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
'No more survivors' in Iran quake
Residents scouring the debris to salvage valuables
Residents are coming to grips with the losses
Rescue workers in north-west Iran have given up hope of finding more survivors from Saturday's earthquake which killed about 230 people.

Map of Iran showing Qazvin and Tehran

After spending a second night in near-freezing temperatures, grief-stricken survivors began scouring the rubble on Monday to salvage valuables.

About 1,500 people were injured and 25,000 left homeless by the earthquake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale.

On Sunday, locals pelted the car of a visiting government minister with stones in anger at the government's delay in providing relief.

Aid delay

The Red Crescent has sent relief workers, sniffer dogs, food, more than 1,000 tents, 2,500 blankets and mobile kitchens to the stricken area.

The Iranian army has supplied men, machinery and water trucks.

The chair I was sitting on started to whirl around
Mary Partovi, Tehran

Measures are being takes to prevent the spread of disease, including the spraying of villages with disinfectant and the provision of tetanus jabs.

But residents of Changooreh, which was at the epicentre of the tremor and was almost totally destroyed, said the help had come too late.

Villagers complain that they are still waiting for tents, food and medicines to reach them.

On Monday, rescuers were recovering more bodies from under the rubble.

"Mother, where are you. Why are you buried in the dirt," said 40-year-old Taheri, beating his head and chest in grief.

Hunting for possessions

Other Changooreh residents began clawing through debris hunting for possessions, and lorries began loading up as some prepared to move elsewhere.

"This looks like a scene from a World War Two movie," said rescue worker Majid Elahi as he surveyed the destruction from atop a mound of brick and mud that was once a home.

Every single building was damaged in Changooreh, in Qazvin province.

"We levelled an area to put up tents but most people want to stay next to their houses to look after their property," said Hossein Rahnema, head of the Red Crescent in Changooreh.
Major earthquakes in Iran
1997: 1,000 killed in Ardabil province; a further 1,500 killed in Khorasan three months later
1990: 35,000 killed in Gilan province
1981: 1,000 killed in Kerman province
1963: 12,200 killed in Qazvin, hit again in 2002

A teenage girl named Maryam with cuts on her arms and face said half of her family, including her mother and infant brother, had died when their home collapsed in Changooreh.

"As soon as we recover everything we're going to Tehran. We have relatives there," she told Reuters news agency.

There have been more than 20 aftershocks since the earthquake struck and seismologists have warned of the risk of more tremors over the next few weeks.

The quake was felt across a wide area, including the provinces of Gilan, Tehran, Kurdestan, Zanjan and Hamedan, the official Irna news agency reported.

Three days of mourning are being observed in Iran.

The BBC's Jim Muir
"The authorities were keen to make a show of concern"
See also:

22 Jun 02 | Middle East
22 Jun 02 | In Depth
08 May 99 | Middle East
23 Jun 02 | Middle East
08 Feb 02 | Country profiles
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