Methodist appeal for victims of Iranian earthquake

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is appealingfor funds to support victims of the earthquake that hit SouthernIran on Boxing Day. The earthquake, which registered 6.3 on theRichter Scale, destroyed almost all of the historic city ofBam. 

MRDF Supporter Relations Co-ordinator, Kevin Fray said: 'MRDFwill be responding through our partners on the ground who know whatthe situation demands. They can access most of the supplies neededregionally, but desperately need money to be raised so that theycan be effective.'

The earthquake has been devastating, with the death toll alreadyreaching 30,000 and a further 80,000 people have been lefthomeless. The earthquake was so catastrophic because the majorityof buildings in Bam were un-reinforced mud brick homes which, whenthey collapsed, left very few air spaces for people to survive in.The destruction of the two hospitals in Bam hinders relief effortsbut also highlights a lack of structural reinforcement of even themost vital buildings in an earthquake-prone area. 

'We should be careful when we talk about natural disasters,'continued Kevin Fray. 'Today, the technology exists to minimise thesuffering caused from naturally occurring events like earthquakes.Just before Christmas, California experienced an earthquake thatwas, in fact, slightly larger than the one in Bam and whilst twopeople were killed, it caused relatively limited structural damage.The contrast between the effects of the earthquake in Bam and inCalifornia shows that the impact which poverty has on the scale ofa disaster is disproportionately large.'

At this time in Bam, search and rescue efforts are ending andthe emphasis is now being placed on increasing assistance to thesurvivors. After the trauma of the earthquake, many of the peopleof Bam lack access to decent shelter, food and clean water and arehaving to endure temperatures of below freezing. MRDF's partnersare providing rapid assistance in the form of large weather-prooftents, blankets, water tanks, medicines and food.

Donations sent to MRDF will be channelledimmediately to where they are most needed. If you wish to supportMRDF's Iran appeal, please send donations to: MRDF at 25 MaryleboneRoad, London, NW1 5JR or call the MRDF Hotline on 0207 22 44 814.Cheques should be made payable to MRDF, with a covering notestating that it is for the IRAN EMERGENCY APPEAL.