About 1400 international relief workers from 26 countries have converged in the southeastern Iranian city, said Ted Pearn, coordinator of UN relief operations. Iran's Interior Ministry said foreign relief workers arriving in the country to help the survivors of the quake did not need visas.

Since the quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck before dawn on Friday dozens of relief planes had landed in Bam and Kerman, the provincial capital to the northwest.

Rashid Khalikov, deputy director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said: "We badly need now cash grants."

Representatives from more than 20 countries, including the United States, the European Union states and Norway, met in Geneva with UN aid agencies and Red Cross officials to discuss the disaster and how best to respond, Khalikov told reporters.

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless and stranded in bitter cold temperatures which descend over Bam at nightfall. 

 Countries, organisations assisting in Iran quake