First foreign aid shipments arrive in Iran
Red Crescent Iran says the first shipment of humanitarian aid from Turkey arrived today at the Azerbaijan disaster area but Turkish relief workers have been retunred from Varzaghan.
Head of Iran's emergency operations announced that since there is no need for foreign relief and rescue workers in the disaster aream and the arrival of the Turkish relief team was not coordinated with the local organizations, Turkish relief workers were sent back from Varzaghan.
The Republic of Azerbaijan announced that yesterday it had dispatched to Iran “aid consisting of flour, tea, rice, sugar, oil, pasta, jouci, water and other necessary goods in 35 trucks.”
The Republic of Azerbaijan also sent 3,000 blankets, 1,000 sleeping bags and 460 tents for the earthquake victims.
In addition to Turkey and Azerbaijan, the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and several international federations and Red Crescent and Red Cross organizations have announced their readiness to deliver aid to the disaster region. Pope Benedict XVI urged the international community to rush to the aid of Iranian victims of the deadly earthquake.
While Red Crescent Iran had announced earlier that it had sufficient provisions for the earthquake victims, the Governor of Ahar told Fars News Agency that there is a shortage of food, water, and tents in the disaster area.
While the government has been criticized for delays in aid delivery, independent reports from Iran indicate that civilians have been spontaneously organizing the collection and distribution of aid to the victims.