After a 7.3-magnitude earthquake left at least 452 people dead in his home country on Sunday, Iran’s Olympic weightlifting champion Kianoush Rostami has launched a fundraising effort of gold medal proportions.
The quake, which struck a remote area along the border of Iran and Iraq was said to be felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan.
Desperate to help those affected by the disaster, Rostami decided to “return the gold medal,” which he won at the 2016 Summer games in Rio de Janeiro, to his people by auctioning it off. The proceeds will be used to help earthquake victims.
The 26-year-old took to Instagram on Tuesday with the announcement and indicated he was deeply shaken by the event.
“I consider it my duty to take a step, however small, to help my beloved fellow countrymen who have suffered as a result of the quake,” Rostami told Iran’s semi-official state news agency.
Iran sits on a major fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian plates. The country has experienced several earthquakes over the years, and Sunday’s quake was the deadliest of 2017.
Residents are still dealing with the aftershocks—of which there have reportedly been more than 200.
Join us in praying for the people of Iran and Iraq as they begin to recover from Sunday’s devastating calamity. If you feel led to assist financially, you can donate through Relief International.