Iran pledges swift aid after major quake kills 400

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In the result of a powerful natural disaster with a magnitude of 7.3, which occurred on the border of Iraq and Iran killed at least 68 people, injured about 1,000.

Major General Jafari said the IRGC has mobilized efforts to rescue people in rural areas while the Army units have focused their relief operation on Sarpol-e-Zahab, a city hit hardest by the Sunday night quake.

"I want to assure those who are suffering that the government has begun to act with all means at its disposal and is scrambling to resolve this problem as quickly as possible", he said, as reported by AFP.

In a televised interview on Monday, IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said his forces are working in close cooperation with the Army to help victims of the massive quake in western Iran.

"Newly constructed buildings. held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed", he told state television during a visit to the affected region.

More than 30,000 houses in the area were damaged and at least two villages were completely destroyed, Iranian authorities said.

Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, with some villages completely wiped from the map.

On the Iraq side of the frontier, nine people were killed and over 550 injured, all in the northern Kurdish provinces.

Tents, some provided by the Red Crescent, dotted green spaces turned into camps for the displaced.

On Tuesday, Iran marked a day of mourning, with a black banner adorning the corner of images of the disaster broadcast by state television.

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Iranian athletes are closing ranks to help the quake victims in the western Kermanshah Province.

But more aid was still needed.

That was echoed by Nazar Barani, the mayor of the town of Ezgeleh, who told state TV his constituency still had a "deep need" for food, medicine and tents.

Mr Gulani said he understood aid had been despatched within the province, but that people in his town had not yet received help.

He added that "psychological support teams" had been sent to these areas. "The quake did not kill us but the cold weather will kill us", a woman in her 30s said.

At dawn, buildings in the town stood disfigured, their former facades now rubble on crumpled vehicles.

"We are living in a tent and we don't have enough food or water", he said.

"Several became victims of treason", the lawmaker said, according to a report by the semi-official ILNA news agency.

Also, 40 ambulances, 55 4WD vehicles, 9 rescue vehicles, and 5 helicopters have been dispatched by Relief and Rescue Organisation of the Iranian Red Crescent Society from the first hours of the morning for assistance.

Kermanshah's provincial officials said about 12,000 houses both in urban and rural regions across the province have been totally damaged due to the strong quake.

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