Kurdish Olympic weightlifter will auction gold medal to aid natural disaster victims

Armenian PM extends condolences to First Vice-President of Iran on devastating earthquake

Moreover, two major Iranian football clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis, provided 2,000 blankets to be distributed among people, in the quake-stricken regions in western Iran, whose houses have been damaged and who are left without shelter in the cold weather.

"I was living on the fourth floor", said Ali Biabani, a labourer in his 50s.

Ahoora Niazi, who lives in Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province, filmed scenes of ruin and posted the videos on the social media.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Department dispatched several cultural heritage task forces to determine the extent of [possible] damage to each monument, the official said, adding that the five sites can be restored.

Nevertheless, dozens of rescue teams are searching for survivors in larger towns and Red Cross teams are on their way.

Tents, some provided by the Red Crescent, dotted green spaces turned into camps for the displaced.

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"We need help. We need everything".

Rouhani said that all aid would be channelled through the Housing Foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up after the Islamic revolution of 1979 that are major players in the Iranian economy. Moezi said there was a need for more relief material and "security".

Rescuers used heavy equipment to dig through the debris of toppled buildings on Tuesday and the government scrambled to get aid to the worst-hit Kermanshah province where hundreds of homes were destroyed, the BBC reported.

"Newly constructed buildings. held up well, but the old houses built with earth were totally destroyed", he told state TV while visiting the affected region.

Seven towns and almost 2,000 villages were damaged, with some villages completely wiped from the map.

Today, Iran marked a day of mourning, with a black banner adorning the corner of images of the disaster broadcast by state television to the tune of "Sad Lisa" by British singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens.

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Iranian athletes are closing ranks to help the natural disaster victims in the western Kermanshah Province.

Ali Daei, a legend of Iranian football and former national team coach, launched an appeal for food and basic supplies.

Local health minister Rekawt Rasheed said the situation was "critical", made worse by the fact that the district's main hospital was badly damaged and without power.

To oversee relief and rescue efforts, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday reached the province, where the victims had been complaining about lack of food, water and tents.

The area sees frequent seismic activity.

Thirteen years later, a catastrophic quake flattened swathes of the ancient southeastern Iranian city of Bam, killing at least 31,000. Searchers used dogs to comb the debris - just as they have since Iran's 2003 quake in Bam that killed 26,000 people - although some clerics insist the animals are unclean.

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