Caritas Aiding Iran's Quake Victims

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 4, 2006 ( Caritas Internationalis is calling on its member organizations to provide food, water, tents and other emergency items to help victims of last week's earthquake in Iran.

Caritas is focusing its efforts on 1,000 to 1,500 families in the three worst-hit villages in the immediate vicinity of the west Iranian town of Boroujerd -- Darbe Astaneh, Bozazna and Gnanjineh. Local officials escorted a Caritas-Iran team on a visit there over the weekend.

"These villages were 70% to 100% destroyed, and what was left standing is most likely not usable," the assessment team said in a report sent to Vatican-based Caritas Internationalis.

Some 15,000 families remain homeless after the Friday earthquake. The quake left about 70 people dead.

Many people lost much of their livestock in the earthquake as well, which is their main means of income.

Local officials said they also needed temporary toilets, showers and blankets, as well as generators for heating at night.

The medical services of the region have been severely hobbled by the disaster. Some field hospitals have been set up, but they are already flooded with injured and sick people.