Baptist World Aid - Help for Iranian Earthquake Victims

Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, has just received this update from the Baptist aid workers in Bam, Iran.

This unedited update comes from the President of Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid), Sandor Szenczy.

HBAid has been acting as the lead agency for BWAid, coordinating the response from many Baptists around the world. Donations are still required to meet the continuing needs, and can be made to BWAid as indicated below.

Paul Montacute – Director, Baptist World Aid


Baptist Aid cares for the injured in Bam

The destroyed city of
Bam moved the hearts of the doctors and nurses of the HBAid Medical Team. Seventy – eighty percent of the buildings collapsed. A few houses lost only two or three walls and the remaining part looks like a theatre stage with the clocks ticking on the wall and the refrigerator’s open door showing the vegetables and milk inside. Most of the survivor inhabitants fled to other areas of the country. Those who stayed tried to warm up by a fire and slept in tents provided by the international relief organisations. Everybody wears a dust mask on the streets and we can see the horror of the tragedy in the eyes.

The citadel of the historical city centre also collapsed, the two thousand years old fortress was largest and oldest clay brick building in the world – before the earthquake. Its collapse killed the 18-member Iranian research group who were studying the World Heritage site for a few days. Only the team leader was found alive under the ruins.

Even the airport as most part of the city is one big hospital. Everywhere we looked injured and wounded people tried to get treatment and those who already received it were lying on beds. However the patients with the most serious injuries were being flown to other cities. After arrival our doctors and nurses immediately started to treat those who came to us.

HBAid staff members Dr. Ildikó Kovács and nurse Mónika Szilágyi treat the ladies and girls, certainly our medics also have to wear a scarf. Our volunteers, Dr. István Papp and Dr. Zalán Dombóvári alongside with the Iranian doctor Ali Ghessim Nejad Raeni who studied and works in Hungary cares for the men and boys with nurse László Pavelcze, who is the president of the Hungarian Special Rescue Team. Our Iranian doctor friend is especially sad because of the tragedy, because he was born and lived in the nearby city in his childhood, and served his military service in Bam.

We build our tents under palm trees in a park where the Russian rescue squad is packing up their centre. They say they found over 150 survivors under the ruins. The palm trees provide some shade during the day but they are obstacles at night for the reflector lamp to protect the foreground of the Hungarian camp. The looters are raiding the “city”, and since not only most of the administrators who hand run the city but a great portion of the policemen also were victims of the earthquake, it is difficult to keep order in Bam. An armed guard was sent to us for the night to protect us and we put up our reflector lamp to light the foreground of our tents.

Over two hundred people came or were taken to our “Baptist Hospital” for treatment over these few days, some of them were badly injured, some of them suffered from pneumonia or cold because at nights the temperature fell below minus 8 – 10 degrees Celsius. One day our team was also asked to go to two villages nearby Bam because survivors were found there and there were not enough doctors to provide medical care and the medications were not sufficient either.

The line of the people waiting for being seen by Dr. Kovács and the team were longer day-by-day as more survivors were found. Furthermore, many survivors tended to ignore their smaller injuries being happy just to stay alive, but after a few days they realised that they needed help. Even on New Year Eve there was neither time, nor mood to celebrate, we had cup of tea, sang the Hungarian national anthem and prayed.

We received requests to send relief shipments with antibiotics, IV fluids, surgical equipment, tents, blankets, generators and water purification systems. According to the information received more than 1,500 children lost their parents and we were asked to help to establish a home for them and provide whatever help we can.

BWAid Appeal addresses - please designate for ‘Iran Earthquake Appeal.’

Baptist World Aid

Baptist World Alliance

405 North Washington Street

Falls Church, VA22046, USA

Phone:  +1 703 790 8980

Fax: +1 703 790 5719

Contacts:  Paul Montacute or Lee Hickman

A US tax receipt will be issued.

Donations may also be made by Visa or MasterCard, in US dollars. State the Gift Amount in US$; Card No; Exp. Date; Signature of donor; and name as it appears on credit card.

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