Thursday, January 22, 2004

Update on the Bam rescue effort

Returning from rescue operations in Bam, Iran "German relief workers" report that the Iranians were "giving priority to men over women and children in the distribution of aid." Also, there seemed to be some confusion as to where the women and children were being sent for medical treatment. In addition, and "according to reports", young female survivors of the earthquake are being kidnapped by "criminal gangs with ties to government officials."

German relief workers who spent four days searching for survivors in the earthquake-hit city of Bam in southern Iran told the government-run German radio, Deutsche Welle, that the rescue mission was “the most frustrating and tragic” in their whole career. The head of the group told the radio: “Normally our rescue workers are not overcome by emotion, but they have been extremely frustrated and shocked this time.”

The relief team spoke of complete anarchy in the rescue effort and rescuers were horrified to discover that government agencies were giving priority to men over women and children in the distribution of aid. The team’s leader said: “The Iranians changed this behavior only after protest by foreign doctors. It was not clear where women and children were being taken and we were curious to know.”

Other foreign aid workers have complained of mismanagement of the rescue effort by government officials, who even hampered the activities of foreign crews. Many said the government’s announcement of the end of the search and rescue phase came too soon.

Criminal gangs with ties to government officials have been kidnapping children, especially adolescent girls, who have survived the quake, according to reports from Bam.

Great work Mullahs!


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