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
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
Suzanne Charest is communications officer at the Canadian