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The Danish and Icelandic Red Cross are supporting the IRCS psychological support programme, which aims to help survivors cope with their grief, homelessness and constant fear aggravated by the continuing aftershocks.

Children are particularly traumatized by such a catastrophe. Six year-old Mehrnaz lost her parents and two older sisters, when the roof of their house collapsed. She only has her uncle left to look after her. “I kept shaking the bodies of my parents, asking them to wake up and take me out of here,” she says. “I cried and shouted a lot.” She is among the 1,850 children orphaned or left “unaccompanied” after the disaster. The IRCS, with the support of the ICRC and the International Federation has been actively searching for their parents or any surviving relatives in order to establish family links.

Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

As the majority of the homeless people moved to the 12 tent camps managed by the IRCS and supported by the International Federation, the operations shifted to the post-emergency phase and rehabilitation and reconstruction.

On 8 January 2004, the International Federation launched an appeal. It was done simultaneously with the UN’s appeal, reflecting the two organizations’ desire to compliment each other’s work. The Federation’s appeal is to support the IRCS operation to assist up to 210,000 people for about eight months.

On January 19, the IRCS hosted a major donors’ conference in Tehran. “We have seen an incredible level of cooperation among the international community during this operation,” says Dr. Ahmad Ali Noorbala, president of the Iranian Red Crescent. This cooperation will continue to be strengthened as the International Federation will organize and chair relief coordination meetings for all non-governmental organizations and agencies involved in relief activities.

Life will never return to what it was before the earthquakes for people like Zolaikha Baniagardy, but very slowly a few signs of hope have begun to appear—the first temporary school opened at one of the tent camps and more than 40 babies have been delivered at the Red Cross Red Crescent hospital.

  Suzanne Charest
Suzanne Charest is communications officer at the Canadian Red Cross.

Working together, local staff work with their international counterparts to build the Red Cross and Red Crescent hospital.
©Farooq Burney / International Federation

Tents being constructed inside the Hamadan camp – a temporary home to some 1,600 people.
©Christopher Black / International Federation

With the destruction of most water and sanitation infrastructure, medical facilities like the Red Cross and Red Crescent hospital must store clean water.
©Michael Walter / Troika

One month after, life carries on although the damage and distress are still present everywhere.

©Till Mayer / International Federation

Children at the Hamadan camp visit with Topolino. Topolino, a hand puppet, is part of the Iranian Red Crescent's psychosocial programme for children. More than 7,500 children
lost at least one of their parents.

©Till Mayer / International Federation

A girl brushes her teeth using water from the a pump donated and installed by the International Federation. The pump provides clean water to residents of the
Hamadan camp.

©Till Mayer / International Federation

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