Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister reported on Sunday that rescue operations have come to an end in the wake of two earthquakes that shook East Azerbaijan Province, leaving more than 250 people dead and more than 2,000 wounded.
Hassan Ghadami announced that more than 110 villages in the region have been affected by the two earthquakes.
Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, who is currently visiting the disaster area, told the Fars News Agency that all efforts are being made to provide aid and overcome supply shortages.
The Interior Minister added: “The public played the most pivotal role in providing aid in the early hours of the disaster” in view of the expansive area affected.
Two strong earthquakes shook northwest Iran on Saturday at around 5 PM local time. The tremors were felt across several provinces in the region.
The East Azerbaijan representative in Iranian Parliament told ISNA that delivery of aid is not fast enough and, if the current rate continued, “fatalities would increase.”
MP Mohammad Hassannejad added that relief groups have not yet reached several villages because roads are blocked.
Also, Ahar, Hereese and Varzaghan do not have hospitals, and the wounded must be taken to Tabriz for treatment.
Mahmoud Mozafar, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Aid and Rescue Organization, announced that search operations in the earthquake-stricken areas have ended, and tents and blankets have been distributed among the victims.
He reported that 92 relief teams, representing 863 relief workers in total, are now operating in the region.
IRNA reported that less than 12 hours after the two earthquakes, Ahar and Varzaghan have experienced numerous aftershocks and experts predict that aftershocks will probably continue in the following days; therefore, people in these cities are advised to stay in the open air and avoid staying under ceilings.