Rescue efforts end after deadly Iran quake

Armenian PM extends condolences to First Vice-President of Iran on devastating earthquake

Strong Quake Jolts Western Iran

Besides, Mohammad Ali Bosaqzadeh, deputy for production control at the National Petrochemical Company, said that the strong quake has damaged neither the petrochemical plants in western provinces nor the West Ethylene Pipeline that runs from Asalouyeh by the Persian Gulf to West Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran.

The natural disaster struck at 21:18 local time (18:18 GMT) on Sunday, about 30km (19 miles) south of Darbandikhan in Iraq, near the north-eastern border with Iran. The country marked a day of mourning for those killed in the 7.3-magnitude quake that struck a mountainous region spanning the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday.

The headline of a state newspaper read "Iran cries with Kermanshah", referring to the Kurdish-majority province.

Local health minister Rekawt Rasheed said the situation was "critical", made worse by the fact that the district's main hospital was badly damaged and without power.

Rescuers used heavy equipment to dig through the debris of toppled buildings on Tuesday and the government scrambled to get aid to the worst-hit Kermanshah province where hundreds of homes were destroyed, the BBC reported.

Ali Gulani, 42, who lives in the province's badly-hit town of Qasr-e-Shirin, told BBC that people were burning crates to try to stay warm. They had no blankets, no food, and no heaters in that cold weather.

The head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the immediate need was for tents, water and food. Ali Daei, football coach and former player and world record holder for worldwide goalscoring, was among the first to help those in need by starting a campaign in Tehran to gather humanitarian aid for Kermanshah.

The town of Sarpol-e Zahab one day after the quake hit.

"I call on all governmental and military officials and all NGOs to help the Housing Foundation and do not do separate work".

Around 12,000 Iranian homes were destroyed and another 15,000 damaged in the quake, according to official estimates.

"I found myself responsible to take a step, however small, to help my countrymen by selling my medal", Rostami said.

More than 500 villages in the region suffered damage. Aid institutions throughout Iran, as well as relief workers, have been busy round the clock attending to the injured and survivors.

"The priority now is for emergency sheltering and food", she said.

Iran's Red Crescent Society officials announced on Monday evening that the rescue operations in Kermanshah will be completed in a few hours.

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