Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSunday, December 28, 2003
<b>US Rescue Teams Head for Bam, as Quake's Death Toll Rises to 22,000</b>
• The 73 members of Virginia Task Force One left for Bam early Sunday morning from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Sixty doctors and other medical experts from the Boston area, known as the International Medical Surgical Response Team, departed Saturday from Westover Joint Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass. Iran's announcement that it did not need any more rescue workers delayed the flight of the 71-member California Task Force Two, comprised primarily of Los Angeles County firefighters. “What we're trying to do is find people alive and pull them to safety,” said Dan Schmidt, spokesman for Virginia Task Force One. “We've got equipment that will help us listen for people and also be able to see people once we're able to get equipment into spots,” he added. (Jamshid Zand)
• US Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage discussed the US help for Bam earthquake victims in a phone conversation with the Islamic government's representative to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif. (Farin Asemi)
• Three C-130 cargo planes, loaded with 28,000 pounds of medicine and medical supplies, power generators and bottled water were unloaded to Iran with the help of Iranian army personnel, <b>Colonel Vick Harris</b>, who has just returned to Kuwait from Iran, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. People received us warmly in Iran, he adds. (Leyli Sadr)
• The quick and direct assistance provided by the US will help improve the US-Iran relations, observed former US defense secretary Richard Cohen. (Amir Armin)
• At least 20,000 died in the Thursday morning quake that shook Bam and the entire Kerman province, interior minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari said. Officials estimate that the number may incease. (Leyli Sadr)
• Kerman provincial governor put the earthquake's death toll at 22,000. More than 11,000 bodies have been buried so far, he added. Nearly 1000 have been rescued, he added. (Amir Armin)
• Rescue workers and relief supplies from all over the world pour into Kerman and Tehran. The US is sending 200 men and 68 tons of medical supplies. An hour ago, the first plane carrying US aid landed in Kerman airport. A UN plane with 40 tons of supplies for rescue workers and people who have lost their homes is due. Italy, Norway, Belgium, France and other countries sent doctors, search and rescue specialist, trained dogs, food, water and medicine. The International Red Cross committee asked for $12 million in emergency aid to help 200,000 in six months. Teams from 20 countries have arrived or are on their way, said a UN spokesman in Geneva. (Mahdieh Javid)
• <b>Radio Farda</b> airs emotional appeals from the relatives of the victims of the earthquake and families, from interviews with eyewitnesses and messages left by listeners on the radio's earthquake hotline. A listener pleads with the authorities to put aside their politics and focus on enforcement of strict building codes that are designed to prevent such disasters.
• Using sniffing dogs, the international rescue workers pulled 20 alive from under the rubble, nearly 36 hours after the devastating earthquake that leveled 80 percent of Bam and heavily damaged the ancient city's 2000-year-old citadel. The Red Cross asked rescue and relief workers to use gloves and protective masks, as thousands of bodies still strewn around the city await burial. Relief agencies said they are experiencing a shortage of body bags, among other things. Survivors help relief workers in digging mass graves. (Siavash Ardalan)
• We only show discipline in feeling regret, writes reformist daily <b>Etemad</b>, criticizing the government for allowing widespread disregard for building codes, especially in cities known to be on fault lines. (Amir Armin)
• Rescuers are trapped on the road to Bam from Kerman, as heavy traffic has completely clogged the highway. Some rescuers have set out for nearby villages on foot. (Shireen Famili)
• Bodies are everywhere, and there is no one to pick them up and bury them, cries a caller to <b>Radio Farda</b>'s hotline. I beg the world to come and help us, despite politics, another caller says. Another caller blames the high death toll on the authorities' disregard for standard building codes. (Ardavan Niknam)
• There is no coordination between the multitude of Iranian and foreign organizations that have sent rescue and relief workers to Bam. A survivor who has lost 17 family members complains that the only help the authorities could send him was a bulldozer. A local worker criticizes the Islamic government for sending relief supplies and money to Iraq and Afghanistan, while it is incapable of helping its own people at the time of need, reports the AFP in a dispatch from Bam. (Farin Asemi)
• The state radio-TV monopoly airs an unprecedented report criticizing the inefficiency of and lack of coordination among the government's rescue and relief efforts. (Shireen Famili)
• The funds collected from US Iranians will be given to the International Red Cross for use in Iran, head of the National Iranian American Council <b>Tarita Parsi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Behruz Nikzat)
• We contacted Swedish and international relief organizations and asked them to increase their help, secretary of the association of Iranian communities in Sweden <b>Asghar Nostrati</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. We decided to send the monies that we have collected to an NGO in Iran which has been formed to help the children who have lost their parents in the earthquake, he adds. (Elaheh Ravanshad, Stockholm)
• In the past two days, rescue workers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp managed to pull 150 alive from under the rubble, an IRGC spokesman said. Two days after the earthquake, the stench of rotting bodies fills the air, as workers rush to bury the bodies. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• Fifty-five hours after the earthquake, there is still no accurate report on the number of casualties, journalist <b>Mohammad-Sadeq Taheri</b> who is in Bam, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Most visible is the sight of foreign rescue workers, who are using advanced tools and trained dogs, accelerating the pace of recovering bodies, dead or alive. Lines of dead bodies stretch out in the street, waiting to be identified by their surviving relatives, he adds. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• The shortage of tents, blankets and portable heating appliances is the main problem right now, according to locals, Kermani journalist <b>Abbas Dabestani</b> who is in Bam, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Bam has not seen such low temperatures in the past 50 years, he adds. Another problem is security, as bands of profiteers have begun digging for valuables, he says. The survivors are forming security committees to patrol their neighborhoods, he adds. (Keyvan Hosseini)
• There is a shortage of at least 17 truckloads of medicine in Bam, according to the authorities. They said by tonight 5000 cell phone lines will become operational, Tehran-based journalist <b>Arash Qavidel</b> who is in Bam tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. More than 30,000 rescue workers are active in the city, including members of the IRGC, national police, Iranian Red Crescent Society, as well as foreign teams. Twenty-five airplanes have so far been carrying the injured between Bam and other cities across the country, he says. The search and rescue work is being carried out in an unorganized, haphazard manner, and the number of workers appears too small considering the magnitude of the ruin. Since midnight last night until 6:30 AM this morning, foreign rescue teams from Armenia, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Britain, Turkey, Australia and the US have been arriving in the Kerman airport, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)
• Rescue efforts have been hampered mainly by the size of the devastation, reported Germany's ADP news agency, quoting a German rescue worker in Bam. Not a single hall has remained in town to be used for sheltering the survivors, he added. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• The conditions we are witnessing in Bam is another indication of the officials' lack of skills and know-how, a Tehrani doctor tells <b>Radio Farda</b>'s earthquake hotline. Their ineptitude is also demonstrated in the current lack of security in Bam, he adds. Another caller urges the people to send their donations directly to the Bam residents, because, he says, the regime's officials cannot be trusted. (Keyvan Hosseini)
• More than 2500 units of blood were donated on the first day after the earthquake by the people of Tabriz. The rush to donate blood has overwhelmed the offices of the Red Crescent and blood centers, who have announced they now have sufficient supplies, Tabriz-based independent journalist <b>Peyman Pakmehr</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Tents set up around the city to collect people's donations have been busy throughout the day, he adds. University students, members of the universities Islamic student councils, and others have formed committees to go to Bam, along with relief workers, as well as medical and nursing schools students, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)
• Afghans families are asked to pay 1 million rials to have their relatives buried, an Afghan immigrant tells <b>Radio Farda</b>'s earthquake hotline. (Leyli Arman)
• People in Kermanshah donated lamps, blankets and cash, Kermanshahi journalist <b>Abdollah Nazari</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>.
• Food and warn clothes have reached Bam, but due to the chaos and lack of proper distribution, there are still parts of the city where real disaster-stricken people have received nothing yet, Kermani journalist <b>Ebrahim Nekisa</b> who has returned from Bam, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. There are still corpses strewn everywhere, he adds. Trained dogs lead rescue workers to five people stuck under rubble, who were still alive. Foreign rescue workers have translators in their team to facilitate their interaction with the local people. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• The Majles held a closed-door meeting to review the various aspects of the Bam earthquake. MPs donated ten days of their salaries to the families of earthquake victims. Sixty MPs asked Majles speaker to give a higher priority to the bill on reinforcing buildings against earthquake. Some MPs went to Bam. (Keyvan Hosseini)
• Germany sent a second team of 60 rescue workers to Bam along with water purifying equipment and medical supplies. (Shahram Mirian)
• Germany sent a 35-ton load of water purification equipment and 350,000 liters of bottled water, as well as three-month supply of medicine for 20,000 people. Seventy Germans are active in rescue and relief work. Help is changing from search and rescue to relief and medical treatment. (Maryam Ahmadi)
• Paris-based Pooya cultural society will deposit the money it is raising to an account opened by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Pooya spokesman <b>Abbas Bakhtiari</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Mir-Ali Hosseini)
• The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, the Iranian Red Crescent Organization and the army have been charged with rubble removal and rebuilding the city of Bam, interior minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari said. (Jamshid Zand)
• People of Sirjan donated blood, as well as blankets, food and whatever they could give, a Sirjan University student tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Many students and professors have received passes through the university to go to Bam, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)
• The Bam-Kerman road has been almost blocked since last night, due to the heavy traffic, but the injured are being taken out of Bam by air, Kermani journalist <b>Ali Parham</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The rubble removal has had a 30 percent progress so far. In addition to the bodies still strewn around the city, scores of orphaned children can be seen all over the city, with no one to care for them, he adds. To the surprise of a mother who begged everyone to help dig the body of her seven-year-old son from under the rubble, her son was pulled out alive, he adds. (Masoud Malek)
• Since early Sunday morning until 3:00 PM, 60 Iranian planes and 13 foreign planes from Italy, Ukraine, Turkey, the UN, Algeria, Morocco, France and Azerbaijan have landed and taken off from Bam's one-lane airport, head of the airport Mohammad Mohebi said. Army cargo planes and cargo helicopters land and unload, one after the other, despite the inevitable chaos, he added. In Kerman airports, planes had to wait for ten hours to receive take-off permission, but there is no waiting in Bam. Every plane has to leave immediately after unloading. Three died when an Iranian helicopter carrying donations of Bandar Abbas people crashed on the way to Bam. (Maryam Ahmadi)
• In a 200-bed hospital, they have crowded 2000 patients, a Kermani young man who worked in one of the city's hospitals as a volunteer, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The situation has somewhat improved, because many of the injured were eventually transferred to hospitals in other cities. Hospitals face shortages of medicine and surgery supplies. Doctors and other hospital workers have been working round the clock, he adds. Surgeons operate the injured one after the other, but some died, as they were waiting for their turn for surgery. (Masoud Malek)
• There are less patients in the hospital today, <b>Dr. Peyman Mohammadi</b> a doctor working at one of Kerman hospitals tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. All patients waiting for surgery in the past two days have been operated on, he adds. There is no shortage of medicine, but supplies such as surgical gloves are running short, he adds. The biggest problem of the earthquake survivors at this point is housing, he says. (Leyli Sadr)
• A delegation from the UN arrives in Bam. More than 40 countries have sent or have pledged to send help, deputy interior minister said. (Amir Armin)
• Three-hundred rescue workers have stranded for several hours at the Tehran airport, because Iran Air refuses to take them to Bam without the prior approval of the Red Crescent organization. The volunteers have offered to take the train, but the railroad officials said they have only room for 70. People are being told that there is no need for more volunteers. (Amir Armin)
• Post disaster psychological trauma may last more than three months, Washington-based psychiatrist <b>Dr. Mihan Zandi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Prescribing anti-blood pressure drugs in the first week after a trauma can help prevent shrinkage of the memory part of the brain. (Behruz Nikzat)
• The activities of the association of the Islamic student councils (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat) and the Islamic student council of Kerman University were focused on medical assistance and providing support for the orphaned children, spokesman of the association's central committee <b>Mehdi Aminzadeh</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Leyli Sadr)
• Many US Iranians living in the Los Angeles area lost relatives and family members in the Bam earthquake. Local Persian radios aired announcements by various community organizations that quickly set up donation centers and bank accounts to which thousands have reportedly donated money. The biggest problem of the US-based Iranian charities is that US laws ban sending funds directly to Iran. (Firuzeh Khatibi, Los Angeles)
• The Iranians in Denmark are concerned that their donations, if paid directly to the government-controlled agencies, will not reach the needy, writer <b>Nahid Riyazi</b>, member of the Denmark chapter of PEN International, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. There is no guarantee that the donated funds will not be embezzled, as we have seen in the past. (Parviz Mardani, Berlin)
• One reason that the Bam earthquake death toll is so high is the fact that traditional houses have heavy ceilings, Virginia-based structural engineer <b>Ali Navidi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Masoud Malek)
<b>Kidnappers Release European Hostages</b>
• Kidnappers released the three European hostages, two Germans and an Irish, who had been seized earlier this month as they were bicycling their way to Zahedan from Bam. The authorities identified the kidnappers as drug smugglers and said the $6 million ransom requested by the kidnappers was not paid. (Keyvan Hosseini)
<b>Interior Ministry and Guardians Council Face Off on Review of Election Candidacy Applicants</b>
• Some of the election executive committees appointed by the interior ministry have disregarded the reports of the judiciary, police and the revolutionary guards on election candidacy applicants, spokesman of the Guardians Council's election supervision council said. The interior minister defended the ministry's policy of dispatching election inspectors to provinces. More than 8,100 have applied for candidacy in the February 20 elections, of which 1976 have been candidates in previous elections. Of the 290 MPs, 252 have applied to run again. It is not yet known how many of the applicants will pass the Guardians Council filter. The election supervision council has received reports on 120 MPs from the judiciary. The elections cannot be free when the Guardians Council hand picks the candidates, former Tehran University president and nationalist-religious coalition member Mohammad Maleki said. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• In today's democracy and human rights roundtable, Tehran-based lawyer <b>Masoud Khosravi</b>, Washington-based political activist <b>Amir-Hossein Tajbakhsh</b> and Berlin-based former political science professor <b>Ahmad Tahmasbi</b> comment about voter turnout in the upcoming Majles elections. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>IAEA Reviews Iran's Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries</b>
• The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began reviewing the role of Pakistan, Russia, China and several European countries in the development of Iran's nuclear program. (Leyli Arman)
کيوان حسيني (راديوفردا): هواپيماي اولين گروه از پزشکان و امدادگران آمريکايي، صبح امروز در فرودگاه کرمان بر زمين نشست. دولت آمريکا گفته است که 68 تن تجهيزات پزشکي و دارو به ايران مي فرستد و آماده است تا عده بيشتري از امدادگران را به منطقه زلزله زده بم اعزام کند.
جمشيد زند (راديوفردا): تيمي شامل پزشکان و امدادگران آمريکايي، صبح امروز وارد ايران شد تا در عمليات جستجو و نجات زلزله زدگان بم شرکت کند. 73 نفر از امدادگران نيروي ويژه تجسس و نجات ويرجينيا، شنبه شب از نيروگاه نظامي داور Dover در ايالت دلور Delaware عازم ايران شدند. اين تيم در زمينه جستجو براي يافتن قربانيان عمليات تروريستي و حوادث طبيعي آموزش ديده است. همزمان با پرواز اين گروه از امدادگران آمريکايي به ايران، 60 نفر از پزشکان و متخصصان پزشکي نيز از منطقه باستن Boston عازم ايران شده اند. 71 نفر از تيم نجات کاليفرنيا نيز آماده حرکت به سمت ايران بودند که در آخرين لحظه پرواز آنها به تاخير افتاد.
به گفته سخنگوي مرکز آتش نشاني لس آنجلس که سرپرستي اين تيم 71 نفره را به عهده دارد، شوراي امنيت ملي آمريکا به درخواست دولت ايران، سفر تيم دوم امدادگران به ايران را به تاخير انداخت. مقامات ايراني گفتند که در حال حاضر به نيروي تجسس و نجات اضافي احتياجي نيست. اين تيم هم اکنون در حال آماده باش است تا در صورت مقامات ايران و موافقت مقامات آمريکايي، عازم ايراني شود.
همزمان با سفر تيم هاي نجات و پزشکي آمريکا به ايران، شب گذشته محمد جواد ظريف، نماينده ايران در سازمان ملل، با ريچارد آرميتيج، معاون وزارت امور خارجه آمريکا در تماسي تلفني درباره کمک به زلزله زدگان بم گفتگو کرد. تيم 73 نفره اي که صبح امروز وارد کرمان شد، به گفته سخنگوي گروه، دستگاه هايي دارد که مي تواند به صداي مردمي که در زير آوار مانده اند گوش کند. تيم هاي تجسس و نجات آمريکا همچنين به دوربين هاي ويژه اي که از باريک ترين منفذها عبور مي کند مجهز هستند.
سرپرست تيم پزشکي آمريکا که از ماساچوست عازم ايران شد مي گويد که ما اميدواريم بتوانيم به زلزله زدگان کمک کنيم. وي مي افزايد: گرچه عده اي هستند که به دليل مشکلات سياسي بين دو کشور احساس چندان خوبي ندارند، اما ما اميدواريم که نماينده خوبي از طرف آمريکا باشيم و بدون هيچگونه فشار سياسي، به مردم ايران کمک کنيم. تيمي شامل پزشکان و امدادگران آمريکايي، صبح امروز وارد فرودگاه کرمان شد تا در عمليات جستجو و نجات زلزله زدگان بم شرکت کند. 73 نفر از امدادگران نيروي ويژه تجسس و نجات ويرجينيا، شنبه شب از نيروگاه نظامي داور Dover در ايالت دلور Delaware عازم ايران شدند. اين تيم در زمينه جستجو براي يافتن قربانيان عمليات تروريستي و حوادث طبيعي آموزش ديده است. همزمان با پرواز اين گروه از امدادگران آمريکايي به ايران، 60 نفر از پزشکان و متخصصان پزشکي نيز از منطقه باستن Boston عازم ايران شدند. 71 نفر از تيم نجات کاليفرنيا نيز آماده حرکت به سمت ايران بودند که در آخرين لحظه پرواز آنها به تاخير افتاد که دليلي آن اعلام عدم نياز به نيروي تجسس و نجات اضافي از سوي جمهوري اسلامي بيان شد. همچنين شب گذشته محمد جواد ظريف، نماينده حکومت ايران در سازمان ملل، با ريچارد آرميتيج، معاون وزارت امور خارجه آمريکا، در تماسي تلفني درباره کمک به زلزله زدگان بم گفتگو کرد.