Catholic agency moves in to earthquake zone
Emergency relief supplies from the Catholic aid agency CAFOD have arrived in the Iranian city of Bam, which was hit by an earthquake on Boxing Day.
CAFOD immediately provided £100,000 to Islamic Relief Worldwide to help their initial aid efforts and now the supplies of blankets and tents and cooking equipment are being used to help homeless victims of the disaster.
The death toll in Bam is believed to have reached 40,000 and thousands of grieving people have been left homeless in temperatures, which fall below zero degrees Celsius.
Rescue workers have set up refugee camps around the town while bulldozers clear the rubble from the streets but the situation is still very grave.
Tim Aldred, CAFODís emergencies officer, said: ìMany people will be suffering from shock and desperate grief if they have lost relatives and need as much help and support as we can give them. ì
CAFOD is also working in Iran through its partners Caritas Iran who are part of the global network of Catholic aid agencies. They have sent an assessment team to Bam from Teheran and are preparing a convoy of food parcels, hygiene packs and cooking equipment, which will leave in the next few days.
An emergency response team is also being sent to the region by Caritas International which will look at the immediate and longer-term needs of the people.