More teams heading to Iran to help quake victims

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: One team left for Iran yesterday and another will leave tonight to offer medical help and assistance in the recovery work at the earthquake-stricken city of Bam. The teams are from three organisations. 

Mercy Malaysia’s focus in Iran will be to provide medical aid to the victims. Its first medical team will leave for the devastated city tonight. 

Its vice-president Assoc Prof Dr Azhar Abdul Aziz said the team, comprising doctors, an orthopaedic surgeon and medical assistants, would be there for about two weeks. 

“We have received word from our fact-finding team there that the much needed help is medical assistance, supplies and equipment,” he told a press conference yesterday. 

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib signs the condolence book set up for the quake victims at the Iranian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur while Ambassador Mohamad Ghasim Moheb Ali looks on. - Bernama picture

Dr Azhar said the team’s priority was not in search and rescue efforts, but to assist and relieve medical workers who were working overtime at the eight hospitals in Kerman.  

“Our assessment team discovered that at least one hospital, which has 300 beds, was treating more than 3,500 injured people,” he said. 

An emergency assessment team led by Mercy’s chief operating officer Mohd Shah Awaluddin left on Saturday to assess the situation.  

Dr Azhar said due to the chaotic atmosphere in Kerman and Bam, the assessment team also faced some difficulties.  

“Mohd Shah was stranded for 10 hours in Teheran Airport due to the sudden influx of volunteers and traffic.''  

Dr Azhar said Mercy Malaysia was appealing for cash donations to support its work in Iran. 

“Presently the minimum cost for the necessary aid is estimated at RM500,000 but it can escalate depending on the situation on the ground.” 

Donations can be made to Mercy Humanitarian Fund at Maybank account no: 5621 7950 4126 or call 03-4256 9999. 

In a related development, a team of five from Yayasan Salam Malaysia (Salam) and the Malaysian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association left yesterday to help in the recovery work. 

The team would serve in Iran for seven to 10 days where they would also attend to immediate needs of the victims. 

“This is the first phase of Salam’s mission where the team would assist, make a full assessment of the situation and network with related organisations to prepare for relief work,” said the foundation’s board of trustees member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah at a press conference in Petaling Jaya yesterday.  

Relief work would only be carried out in the second phase of the mission, as he said such work could only start after two weeks of any disaster. 

Volunteers Captain K. Balasupramaniam, Lt Kody Munyiandi, Lans-Corp Noor Amali Mahat, Const Ramakrishnan Ramasamy and sole female member Anita Lim were at the press conference. 

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak urged Malaysians to join hands with other international communities by responding generously.  

“We also hope that all Malaysians will extend their prayers for the people of Bam,” he said after signing a condolence book at the Iranian Embassy here.  

More stories on the earthquake in the World section

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