(CNSNews.com) – Survivors of an earthquake near Iran’s border with Iraq – the deadliest in the world so far this year – have been calling for more help than they’re getting, but their government says it doesn’t need help from abroad.
A day after Sunday’s 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed more than 500 people in Iran and injured more than 8,000 in Iran and Iraq, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, “We are grateful for global expressions of sympathy and offers of assistance. For now, we can manage with our own resources.”
But days later, victims are still asking for help, sleeping in the rubble of tens of thousands of destroyed homes and, according to an AP report, “saying authorities haven’t delivered enough tents ahead of the fast-approaching winter.”
On Tuesday, Iranian officials called off searches in the rubble of destroyed homes, saying there was little chance of finding anyone left alive.
About half of the fatalities are reported to have occurred in the minority Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, about ten miles from the Iraq border.
In a tweet directed at Zarif, U.K.-based Kurdish affairs scholar Dana Nawzar Jaf, said Thursday, “you told the world not to send aid because you had enough – for now – and yet it is the poor Kurdish villagers who do all the help. Where is your government in all of this and why do you refuse to accept international aid?”
In a separate tweet, he said, “Amid Iranian government’s reluctance to help, many Iranian Kurdish citizens have mobilized to provide food and shelter to the earthquake victims.”
One unlikely offer of aid came Wednesday from Israel, a country that has world-leading disaster rescue and emergency field hospital capabilities, but is loathed by the regime in Tehran.