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Stamford, CT, December 29 2003 – AmeriCares, one of the nation’s largest International humanitarian relief organizations is dispatching today an emergency response team to southeastern Iran, where a quake measuring at least 6.3 on the Richter scale has killed an estimated 20,000 and injured 50,000.
The quake struck near the ancient fort city of Bam on Friday, December 26 at approximately 5:30 AM local time. Bam is located roughly 600 miles southeast of Tehran. More than 90 percent of the Old City of Bam (dating back 2,000 years) was destroyed. Officials estimate 70 percent of the homes in the surrounding region have been flattened along with local hospitals.
In response to the disaster, AmeriCares is sending relief workers to Iran and making preparations to fill a cargo jet with medicines, bandages, tents, water purification systems and other trauma equipment for a tentative departure date of Tuesday, Dec. 30.
Bam is home to 90,000 people with another 200,000 residing in neighboring villages. The quake destroyed much of the city’s historic landmark — a giant 2,000-year-old citadel made of mud-brick, overlooking the Old City. Until the quake, it was the largest mud structure in the world.
In June 1990, AmeriCares airlifted volunteer doctors and relief supplies to Iran, when nearly 40,000 were killed in a massive earthquake measuring 7.7 that struck 175 miles northwest of Tehran. It was the first flight to originate from the United States and land on Iranian soil following the Iranian hostage crisis, which ended in 1981.