7 JANUARY 2004
As a series of tremors – 14 in total – continued to shake Iran this week, Queen Rania of Jordan flew into the troubled region, bringing kind words and a consignment of relief aid to the devastated city of Bam.
During her visit the queen met 97-year-old quake survivor Shahrbanou Mazandarani, who four days earlier had been pulled from the ruins of her home. She also chatted with other victims being treated at the Jordanian field hospital.
“We try to help our brothers in Iran as much as we can,” said Rania, whose flight was accompanied by a Jordanian armed forces plane bearing 20 tonnes of medical supplies, tents, blankets and heaters. “This human crisis does not recognise politics or boundaries. There has been great devastation, and when I talk to people I hear of how they have lost a great number of their relatives.” The latest shipment of Jordanian aid was the fifth to be dispatched to date.
Dressed in a beige coat, her hair covered with a pale blue shawl in accordance with Islamic guidelines, the Jordanian royal spoke of the need to maintain international aid efforts. “There should be a long term presence to rebuild the lives and homes of these people,” she said. “There should be a long-term presence of NGOs.”
Rania was also scheduled to visit the ruins of the city’s ancient citadel, razed to the ground by the massive quake – measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale – which hit the area on December 26.
Authorities in the south west of Iran closed schools on Wednesday until further notice as quakes continued to affect the area.