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Collapsed state housing in Iranian quake shows corruption - Rouhani

16 November 2017

The magnitude-7.3 quake struck Sunday at 9:48pm Iran time, just as people were going to bed.

Iran's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday and called on government agencies to do all they could to help those affected.

The quake killed 407 people in Iran and injured 7,156 others, Iran's crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV. "Where is the aid?"

Seven deaths occurred in Iraq and 535 people were injured, all in the country's northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to its interior ministry.

People react as they run following an quake in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran.

Kitty Logan reports on the search for survivors.

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Hospitals in nearby provinces took in numerous injured, state television said, airing footage of survivors waiting to be treated.

Iran's Red Crescent said emergency shelter had been provided for thousands of homeless people but a lack of electricity and water, as well as blocked roads, hindered aid supply efforts. Kurdish broadcasters showed injured people being rushed into hospitals in Iraq as others gathered along the streets wrapped in blankets.

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent relief and rescue organization said more than 70,000 people need emergency shelter.

"Iran wept", read the front page of Aftab-e-Yazd, over a big photo of an Iranian woman holding a lost family member in her arms. Groups clustered around bonfires trying to warm themselves. Parks had become encampments dotted with multicolored tents as soldiers patrolled to deter looting and anti-riot police supervised the distribution of food and water.

"It is cold. My children are freezing". "Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed", Fard said.

"All we can do is worry and feel helpless", Rahimi said.

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"More people will die because of the cold".

A local man told Isna news agency that "people are hungry and thirsty".

Some people were angry that among the collapsed buildings were houses that the government has built in recent years under its affordable housing programme.

The situation on the ground in those areas is one of ruined houses and stores, crumpled cars under debris, thousands of displaced people living on sidewalks and pleading for aid, glassy-eyed kids, and dust generated by the clearing of debris.

Mohammad Hossein Sadeghi, the prosecutor general in Kermanshah, the largest city in the natural disaster zone, said on Wednesday that the quality of construction of new buildings that were heavily damaged would be investigated and charges may be brought against anyone deemed responsible. "I promise you, those responsible will be punished".

Iran's western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the temblor Sunday night, with authorities saying the quake killed 407 people in the country and injured 6,700.

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Collapsed state housing in Iranian quake shows corruption - Rouhani