Lutherans can help the tens of thousands of injured and homeless after the massive Dec. 26 earthquake that left as many as 34,000 people dead in southeastern Iran.
Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Baltimore, and its church and non-governmental partner organizations have been assessing needs and deploying staff to the affected region.
In the ancient city of Bam, near the epicenter of the quake that registered 6.6 on the Richter scale, two thirds of the buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged. Many casualties were caused by falling debris.
With a population of 80,000, Bam and the surrounding area have been without locally provided water and power since the quake struck. At night, the temperatures reach freezing. Located on the ancient Silk Road, Bam is a popular tourist destination.
Outside emergency teams have been reinforcing local rescue-and-recovery efforts and are providing services for the survivors. News reports say that two hospitals in Bam were destroyed, so that the injured were being airlifted or transported on roads crowded with the homeless. More than 130 schools were destroyed, affecting as many as 30,000 children.
LWR, which is providing $250,000 worth of aid to those affected by the earthquake, is requesting emergency donations from supporters in the United States, for the following:
- urgently needed items such as tents, blankets, water tanks and food — all to be puchased in Iran;
- airlifting 400 winterized family tents for the elderly, orphans and those who are ill;
- emergency water and sanitation supplies and rehabilitation of local systems;
- assessing needs and skills of women whose livelihoods are at risk because of the earthquake; and
- bedding for 13,000 people, to re-stock emergency supplies.
Send donations designated “Iran Earthquake” to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 68661, St. Louis, MO 63166-9810. Or, call the credit-card gift line at (888) 930-4438. Donors also may give through a secure online connection at the Synod’s Mission and Ministry Catalog by going to catalog.lcms.org and clicking on “Help Iran Earthquake Victims.”
Posted January 2004