Mostly women and children dead in Iran quake
Many dead buried immediately following quakes.
Twin earthquakes in Iran have left mostly women and children dead. A disproportionate number of women and children have been reported dead with the official toll including 219 women and children and 49 men. Government officials have already announced the end of rescue efforts.
Victims of the quake try to comfort one another amid the grief and the aftershocks.
Government officials are warning that the toll will rise, although they have announced the end of all rescue operations, saying that all people involved have been recovered.
Despite the opaque coverage coming from Iran, it is clear the devastation is substantial. A pair of quakes, measuring 6.4 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck about 11 minutes apart. Many structures that survived the first quake, collapsed in the second, often as people went into still standing buildings to retrieve loved ones and items.
Red Crescent officials say at least 1,000 villages have been affected over a wide area, and at least 20 have been completely destroyed.
Following the quakes, many people stayed outside, setting up makeshift camps and sleeping in the streets.
Nearly a hundred aftershocks of lesser magnitude have kept nerves frayed.
Most of the casualties appear to be in rural areas where structures are small and makeshift. Despite official reports to the contrary, locals say they are still searching for the missing. Some of those people may be separated by the resultant chaos, but it is still suspected that several bodies remain to be recovered. Locals are hopeful they can still find survivors amongst the rubble.
Local news and aid agencies are calling for drinking water and food. Meanwhile, the government has already approved funds to help locals rebuild their homes, in the amount of approximately $1,000 per family.
The US Geological Survey says the quakes struck about 37 miles northeast of Tabriz, a rural city with little connection to Iran's nuclear or oil activities.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Iran, quake, death toll
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