The U.S. government and private agencies have given more than 40 tons of relief supplies and hundreds of thousands of dollars to help longtime antagonist Iran dig out from its massive earthquake, officials said yesterday.
The government's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance was to send relief supplies to Tehran yesterday from stockpiles in Leghorn, Italy, the InterAction relief group said.
Lisa Mullins, a spokeswoman for InterAction, which includes 120 U.S. relief agencies, said the supplies comprised 1,000 hard hats, 1,000 pairs of leather gloves, 10,000 face masks, 2,940 wool blankets, 160 five-gallon water jugs and at least 500 tents.
The effort was valued at $300,000 and the supplies would be carried by an American Red Cross charter flight, Mullins said in a telephone interview from InterAction's Washington office.
Among other assistance, the private AmeriCares agency flew 40 tons of medical supplies from Hartford, Conn., to Tehran Saturday accompanied by some medical personnel.
The Lutheran World Relief also has given quilts and clothing valued at $35,000, Mullins said.
The American Red Cross has donated $50,000 and issued a call Friday for financial aid for victims of Iran's Thursday earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.
Barbara Lohman, a spokeswoman with the American Red Cross headquarters here, said it was cheaper to buy supplies closer to the disaster area than fly them from the United States.
"We do not anticipate at this time any supplies coming from this country for Iran," Lohman said in a telephone interview.
Mullins said some private agencies were refraining from sending aid because of a logistical logjam. Help is being funneled through Iran's Red Crescent Society alone rather than a variety of private groups.
"The numbers of agencies responding has to do with logistical problems, not political," she said.