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Iran: UN rushes assess damage after quake

UN rushes experts to assess damage in quake-struck Iran

The United Nations is sending an inter-agency assessment team to Iran after an overnight earthquake killed or injured hundreds and is ready provide any aid that may been needed and to mobilize international assistance, officials of the world body said today.

Experts from the UN World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) will leave tomorrow for Iran’s western Lorestan province.

Initial reports have confirmed 66 people killed and more than 1,200 injured, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which warned that the number of affected persons is expected to rise.

The quakes, measuring between 2.8 to 6.0 on the Richter scale, mainly affected the industrial cities of Doroud and Boroujerd; however, provincial authorities estimate that there are more than 200 villages between the two cities which have suffered substantial damage, OCHA said.

In a statement issued by his spokesman today, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan extended his deepest condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured.

“The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the loss of life, the hundreds of injuries and the destruction suffered by the people of Iran after the earthquakes that struck Lorestan Province on the evening of 30 March and the morning of 31 March,” the statement said.

“The United Nations will send an inter-agency assessment team to the affected region immediately, and stands ready to lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs created by the disaster and to mobilize international support for that response.”

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