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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 January, 2004, 14:35 GMT
Iran 'miracle woman' recovering
Quake survivor Shahr-Banu Mazandarani sits in her bed in a hospital in Bam
Mazandarani is "bossing doctors around"
The elderly woman found alive in the rubble of Bam eight days after the earthquake says she is doing fine but still has a headache and stiff limbs.

The woman, in her 90s, was trapped in her bed under wooden beams which saved her from falling debris, doctors said.

Shahr-Banu Mazandarani had some food and water left by her family before the earthquake struck.

Although unable to move, she was wrapped in blankets - that is what kept her alive for so long, doctors said.

Rescuers said they had first heard a weak voice from the rubble and soldiers had spotted a hand protruding from the rubble on Saturday.

They then started digging the woman out.

"Chai" - the word for tea - was among her first words.

When handed a cup of tea, she pushed it away and said: "It's hot. Don't give it to me now."

The rest of her family was killed in the earthquake.

Bossing around

Shahr-Banu Mazandarani is still in intensive care at the huge field hospital being built by the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent to take over from two hospitals destroyed in the earthquake.

"I have pain from my head to my feet. My body is in pain - give me some pills," she told the BBC's Alistair Leithead on Sunday.

She also complained of having stiff limbs from being trapped in for so long, but otherwise is doing fine, our correspondent says.

He says she may have been through an eight-day ordeal with very little to eat or drink, but now is ordering the doctors and nurses around.

Aid officials expressed astonishment at Shahr-Banu Mazandarani's survival.

In previous cases, reports of miraculous rescues several days after an earthquake have often proven to be false.

Destroyed city

The makeshift hospital is expected to stay in Bam for at least a year and will be able to treat more than 200,000 people.

EMERGENCY AID
Survivors with bundles of goods in Bam
Aid agencies say disaster victims need at least:
Shelter: 3.5 square metres
Water: 7 litres/day
Food: 2,100 kilocalories/day

Aid agencies had given up hope of finding anyone alive after days of pulling bodies from the debris.

The tremor destroyed or damaged 90% of buildings in the historic mud-brick city.

At least 30,000 people died in the earthquake, although officials fear the true number may never be known because of the devastation caused.

Some 100,000 Bam residents have been left homeless. Running water and electricity have been restored to some areas, and trucks are delivering water to other points.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Aliastair Leithead
"She really is a remarkable woman"



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