Earthquake Devastates Iran Tourist Town

“Those who have visited Bam, may remember the happy smiles & beautiful palm trees of this fascinating ancient city, lots of memories from the nostalgic sunset scenes above the once world’s largest and fabulous mud-brick complex,” said Hadi Sh. Shakib, Pardisan Tour & Travel about the center of last Friday’s deadly Iran earthquake.
That complex is now reduced to rubbles, as  a result of last Friday’s deadly earthquake centered near the ancient city of Bam about 610 miles southeast of the capital, Tehran.  

Some 20,000 are feared killed and at least 30,000 people have been injured in the quake, local officials said.  Reports indicate that some 60 percent of the city’s residential areas have been destroyed. Bam has a population of about 80,000 people.

The medieval oasis town of Bam lies near Arg-e-Qadeem-e Bam, a mud-walled citadel whose foundation may date back 2,000 years. According to some historians, the citadel is the greatest city made of mud bricks in the world: Along its eerie deserted streets are the ruins of communal baths, mosques and shops, some of which have been painstakingly restored. From atop the citadel’s walls, you can take in the astonishing view of palm groves in the desert. The Iranians are constructing an airport and tourist facilities in the new town of Arg-e Jadeed-e Bam, some 4 mi/7 km from the citadel. Bam may be seen as a day trip from Kerman. 60 mi/ 100 km southeast of Kerman.

“Let’s help to bring Bam back to life,” urged Shakib. 

Shakib is certainly not alone in calling for international help.  Iran has invoked for international aid as the death toll from a devastating earthquake climbs.

Officials are concerned about the situation in Bam.  “The situation in Bam is worrying. The scale of the damage and deaths is widespread and the number of victims is high,” said an official.

State media said two of Bam’s hospitals had collapsed, leaving many of the staff injured and forcing people to seek medical attention in the provincial capital of Kerman. Private vehicles have been banned from the roads to make room for emergency traffic.

The remaining hospitals are reportedly full and rescuers were attempting to transported the wounded to neighboring towns.

The government requested international assistance, asking for sniffer dogs to help find the thousands feared trapped in the ruins.

Tehran University’s Geophysics Institute said the earthquake measured a magnitude of 6.3, according to IRNA. It was followed by several aftershocks, including one measuring 5.3.

For its part, the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center measured the magnitude of the quake at 6.7.

eTurbo News in a special announcement last Saturday encouraged the industry to join the international community’s relief effort.   As part of its commitment to help in challenging times, eTurbo News is offering a US$100 advertising voucher to confirmed donations to the Iran Red Crescent Society. 

Said Farhad Namin, manager of Iran Way Travel Agency: “Many thanks for your kind email yes the terrible earthquake has damaged and destroyed the life of people but also has ruined world largest mud and sundried old citadel of the world.”

Namin added that the citadel which is more than 2000 years old has always been one of highlights of Iran’s attractions and was to some extent under restoration, however the future of the restoration is now bleak.

On the status of tourists in the area, Namid said: “There were only one group from U.K. and they are all safe and sound although they stayed in the hotel in Bam. Well thanks to the good driver they have been transferred to Kerman. There are currently tourist groups from Greece, France, and UK in that area but they are all OK and fine some groups in Iran have rerouted their trip and changed the itinerary instead of going to Bam.”

“This area is one of poorest and deprived areas of my country so even international urgent help and relief is needed,” Namid said.

Anooshiravan Honari, head of gashttour inbound tours, also contacted eTurbo News.  Honari said: “Government has declared national emergency situation and requested for foreign aid The rescuers dos not need visa; they will fly directly to Kerman 120 Km of Bam Bam was on the UNESCO, s world heritage list, Bam citadel which was located south of city and said was the largest mud brick structure in the world, some of its buildings found 2000 years ago, totally has been demolished with this destruction world lost one of jeweler of archeological sites.”

H. Ahmadi said: “I ask you kindly to write to dear readers that Bam is one of the cities of the province of Kerman and both cities proved in the glorious history of Iran, to be Fidel and honest to all up and down of the past and they taught to the history researchers, their preservation and resistance, to all unkindness of the nature and aggressiveness.”

He added, “Bam is destroyed and its citadel silent but we have to keep it alive in the memory as it is alive and intact in the history books and shining much more brilliantly as ever. “

“For years and years this place and its people have given you whatever they had, their cities beauty, hospitality, lessons of history, art and a lot more, all with pleasure and all with love,” closed Shakib.

The quake struck Friday morning at 5:27 a.m., as people were sleeping.

By Nelson Alcantara

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