Monday, December 27, 2004

Iran offers aid to Asian quake victims -

Iran offers aid to Asian quake victims -: "Iran offers aid to Asian quake victims
12/27/2004 2:00:00 PM GMT

"Overcoming a disaster in such a scale is not easy", Khatami said

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Monday that his country is willing to send aid convoys to Asia after the tidal waves that killed tens of thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands others, the state news agency IRNA reported.

“I regretfully received news of the earthquake and floods in your countries,” IRNA quoted Khatami as saying in a message to leaders of eight countries that were affected by the yesterday’s quake.

“I express condolences to you and your nations, particularly the bereaved families of victims... Naturally my country is ready to assist as much as it can the people affected by the quake,” he said.

A devastating earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Sunday, triggering massive tsunamis that lashed coastal areas of southeast Asia with waves up to 10 meters high.

Iran has just commemorated the anniversary of a powerfull earthquake that killed more than 30,000 Iranians and flattened the ancient city of Bam on December 26, 2003.

Mourning Iranians gathered at the southeastern city of Bam, marking the first anniversary of the massive earthquake that left the ancient Silk Road city in ruins.

Bam was hit by a pwerfull earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale on December 26 last year.

Thousands of Iranians gathered at the city's cemetery to pay their respects to their dead relatives.

"I now live in Kerman, I have come back after a year to be with my loved-ones for a day," said middle-aged man Ebrahim Faramarzpour. "I have lost 28 family members."

Men, women, the young and the old spent Sunday by the tombs which they decorated with flowers and black candles, praying for the dead.

Readings from the holy Qur’an mixed with the cries of mourners echoed through the cemetery.

"My Hassan, my Hossein, where are you? ... My heart is burning, won't you come back my children? It's already a year!" wailed Masoumeh Ebrahimpour, 50, as she looked over the nine tombs of her family members.

"Overcoming a disaster in such a scale is not easy ... there might have been some shortcomings," President Mohammad Khatami was quoted as saying, after he visited Bam this week.

"Bam will stand again before the end of this government," he said. Khatami will leave office in August.

"Once there were houses here, there was life here, now it is a ruin. Who has helped these people? No-one!" a middle-aged cried."


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