Mercy Corps Opens Shelter, Provides Relief to Quake Survivors in Iran

January 6, 2004

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    Families have begun to move into a Mercy Corps constructed tent camp in Bam. Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps Photo:

Families made homeless by the deadly earthquake in southeastern Iran are moving into a temporary tent encampment set up by Mercy Corps. Today, the first 100 families moved into the camp, which is one of the first to be constructed in Bam and could house as many as 500 families in the coming weeks.

Mercy Corps is providing each family with emergency supplies including blankets, cooking stoves and heaters. The camp has been equipped with latrines, drinking water and showers. For many, this is the first reliable source of water that they have had since the 6.6-magnitude quake hit Bam in the early morning hours on December 26, killing more than 30,000 people.

Mercy Corps staff are also working to procure emergency goods such as mattresses, construction tools, cooking equipment and toys for distribution to families living outside of the camp in Bam, where tens of thousands remain homeless.

While working to support the immediate needs of families in Bam, Mercy Corps is also looking toward the next phase: assisting in rehabilitation projects to help people resume a more normal life. Mercy Corps is assessing the need for providing school supplies, children’s activity kits, and re-building kits for family homes.

In the past week, Mercy Corps has strengthened its team on the ground with four additional expatriate staff, bringing the total number of staff responding to nine. Additionally, the organization continues to coordinate activities with its international partner Peace Winds Japan and the United Nations agencies.

Mercy Corps has operated humanitarian programs in Iran since May 2003. Within hours of the quake, a team was dispatched from Zahedan where the agency runs a program assisting the return of refugees to neighboring Afghanistan.