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Foundation to chart next phase of assistance for Iran victims

posted on 04/01/2004: 686 views

More than 162 tonnes of aid have been sent to the earthquake-hit area of south-eastern Iran by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation. The organisation is now deciding on its next phase of relief operations, according to Ibrahim Bu Melha, Vice Chairman of the foundation's board of trustees, at a press conference yesterday.

Bu Melha has just returned from a fact-finding trip to the crisis zone and led a team comprised of several charity organisations, police rescue teams, doctors and sniffer dogs. Based on their assessment, the foundation will decide on activity over the coming weeks.

The massive relief operation, led by the foundation, comes under the orders and financing of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister. Four planes have already been sent to the area, transporting thousands of tents, 40,000 blankets, 30,000 jackets, tonnes of canned food and medicine, Bu Melha said. He appealed to all those who lived in the UAE to help, saying the foundation is receiving all kinds of aid.

"The devastation caused by the earthquake is horrific. Whole families have been wiped out and the infrastructure has been totally destroyed," he said. He pointed out that the foundation is preparing a large storage facility in Al Qusais which will help them in the future to provide faster relief operations. "We will be receiving the facility in a month's time," he said.

The UAE's relief effort has seen contributions from the Al Maktoum Charity Foundation, Sharjah Charity Organisation, Dubai Aid City, Dubai Charity Organisation and the Human Appeal organisation. It was the first time that the Rescue Department at Dubai Police participated in an operation abroad. A team of 26 rescuers and five technicians from the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Teams were sent to the zone and were called upon to excavate more than 50 bodies from the rubble.

First Lieutenant Hussain Mohammed Al Rahoomi, who headed the operation, said the team was supported by sniffer dogs in an effort to pinpoint the location of survivors or bodies. "Sadly, we did not find any live victims. We used special sensor equipment to try and find people who may have been still alive," he said. (The Gulf News)


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