President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's government faced criticism on Monday over its response to two earthquakes that killed 306 people, with complaints of a lack of tents and about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's decision to go ahead with an overseas trip.
Although officials announced on Sunday, less than 24 hours after disaster struck, that search and rescue operations had finished and all survivors had been freed from the rubble, some locals expressed disbelief that authorities could have reached the most remote villages so soon, reports Reuters.
"I know the area well. There are some regions where there are villages that you can't even reach by car," one doctor in the city of Tabriz told Reuters by telephone on Monday, declining to give his name because of the sensitivity of the issue. "It's not possible for them to have finished so soon."
The doctor said he had worked for 24 hours non-stop, treating patients from villages rushed to Tabriz.
"In the first hours after the quake, it was ordinary people and volunteers in their own cars going to the affected areas," the doctor said. "It was more ordinary people helping out than official crisis staff."
Members of parliament representing the affected areas complained about a shortage of tents, parliamentary news agency ICANA said.
"The crisis management headquarters must take broader steps to alleviate these concerns," said speaker Ali Larijani, a frequent critic of Ahmadinejad and possible candidate to succeed him in elections next year.
The moderate conservative newspaper Asr-e Iran reported that a full 24 hours after the earthquake, some villages had not yet been visited by relief teams.