New Straits Times, Nation, January 9,
Engineers, mobile toilets needed
By Ranjeetha Pakiam

PETALING JAYA, Thurs. - The first recovery and assessment team to return from the earthquake site in Bam, Iran, said there was an immediate need for water engineers and mobile toilets to be sent over to help ease water and sanitation problems there.

The Yayasan Salam and Malaysian Volunteer Fir and Rescue Association joint team returned yesterday after a week in Iran where clean drinking water had become scarce and proper sanitation facilites were lacking.

Yaysan Slaam trustee Datuk Saifuffin Abdullah said the foundation was looking for two volunteer water engineers to oversee the erection of water pipes and to treat water for drinking.

"The engineers would have to spend a minimum of six months in Bam. The foundation is willing to send the volunteers there as soon as possible so that the water projects can begin immediately," he said at a Press conference at Yayasan Salam today.

Operation chief volunteer Captain K. Balasupramaniam said the victims in Bam were also without toilet facilities after destroyed sewerage and drainage systems in the area.

'We hope that sponsors will come forward to donate mobile toilets as the victims who live in camps are forced to defecate in open areas which could lead to the spread of diseases," he said, adding that Yayasan Slam would be responsible for transporting the toilets to Iran.

Present were technical officer Kodi Muniyandi, emergency medic Lim Sim Wei, rescue technician Noor Amali Mahat and high angle operation specialist Ramakrishnan Ramasamy, who made up the rest of the team.

They were the only Malaysian team to register with the United Nations on-site relief operations. The team worked together with the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

Upon arrival in Teheran on Dec 31, the team members flew to Kerman where they were told to obtain white cards, which would enable them to travel to Bam.

"Volunteer groups were held up at the Kerman airport as not many people were allowed into "red zones", the most badly hit areas of Bam, for fear of disease and overcrowding. After getting our white cards, we were flown into Bam and spent the night in camps before starting work the next day," said Balasupramaniam.

The team recovered three bodies using car jacks as some of their rescue equipment was lost during their flight to Teheran.

"We had to improvise and use whatever tools we could get our hands on as it was hard work recovering the bodies which were buried under the rubble."

The team members then spent the next two days making an assessment of their surroundings and interviewing government officials and representatives from various non-governmental organization.

'We were satisfied with the outcome of the mission as all operations went on smoothly and we were treated with respect and warmth by the people of Iran.

'The only problem we encountered was the language as our interpreter kept translating everything wrongly, which ked to a lot of funny situations," said Balasupramaniam.


Back to Main Page | Home Page

Copyright © MVFRA. All Rights Reserved.
Questions or comments?
Send email to