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UNHCR sends relief convoy to aid Iran earthquake victims

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UNHCR sends relief convoy to aid Iran earthquake victims

29 December 2003

29 December 2003

An eight-truck UN refugee agency (UNHCR) convoy carrying thousands of tents, blankets and mattresses was expected to arrive Monday afternoon in the earthquake-stricken Iranian city of Bam.

The convoy left UNHCR's warehouse in the north-western Iranian city of Kermanshah on Sunday morning for the long road journey across Iran. Reports from the convoy Monday morning said roads leading to Bam were heavily congested, slowing traffic to a crawl.

UNHCR's Tehran office issued a statement Sunday expressing the refugee agency's "deep shock" over the devastating Bam earthquake and extending its condolences to the Iranian people.

It announced the UNHCR convoy was carrying 1,000 tents, 10,000 blankets and 3,000 mattresses from the agency's stockpiles in Kermanshah, near Iran's western border with Iraq. The supplies are valued at approximately $140,000.

A joint UN assessment team in Bam on Saturday found that up to 90 per cent of all buildings in the city were significantly or totally damaged by the 6.6-magnitude quake, which struck the city early Friday. With temperatures in the area falling below freezing at night, tents and blankets are essential to provide immediate relief to the affected population.