Iran has been inundated with offers of assistance from the international community. At present there are about 350 international specialists working in the rescue operation and aid has arrived from a large number of countries. UK International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said: ‘Providing shelter for those facing the freezing desert night is urgent and critical – Many local people are having to rely on open fires, with temperatures falling as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius.’ However, Iranian officials have said that the aid effort is not enough because of the scale of the destruction. ‘If we have not cleared the area by the end of the week there will be a threat of epidemics,’ said a local rescue worker.