Rescuers Fear Quake Survivor Hope Is Low; You Give Your Best, but Sometimes You Have to Accept That Your Best Will Not Be Enough Rescue Worker Barry Sessions

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Kelly

Revolutionary Guards, said more than 10,000 bodies have already been recovered.

The Iranian government estimated the death toll would be around 20,000, but local officials have warned it could be double that figure.

Iran has appealed for medicine and equipment. About 400 foreign experts have joined rescue efforts including the Britishbased International Rescue Corps, fire and rescue crews from Essex, Hampshire and Kent, and sniffer dogs from British Inter-British rescuers said yesterday hopes of finding survivors from the Iranian earthquake were 'dwindling fast'.

Recovery worker Barry Sessions, aged 56, said his Rapid-UK team had not found anyone alive under the rubble of the historic city of Bam, despite searching non-stop for over 24 hours.

'We are not quite out of time yet but time is very short,' he said.

'You give your best, but sometimes you have to accept that your best will not be enough.'

Up to 40,000 people are feared to have died in the quake which struck on Friday morning.

An estimated 80 per cent of Bam was flattened in the disaster, which registered 6.3 on the Richter scale.

Mr Sessions, an oyster farmer from Devon, said the mud brick buildings had posed severe problems for rescuers.

'The earthquake reduced most of them to something like talcum powder. Many of the casualties suffocated, and there are few voids or gaps left in the buildings where we would normally find survivors.

'In these conditions, we are not optimistic of finding anyone alive. Hopes are dwindling fast.' Officials said about 200 survivors had been plucked from the rubble, including a baby.

But General Hasan Rastegarpanah, from the Iranian national Rescue Dogs and Canis. British Red Cross officials were due to arrive in the area later yesterday after they stopped off to pick up supplies including tents, blankets and cooking equipment which they will distribute to survivors. …