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News number: 9104253773

23:39 | 2012-08-11

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87 Killed, 600 Wounded in Iran Quake

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least 87 people were killed and more 600 others were wounded by two rather powerful earthquakes in Northwestern Iran on Saturday, local officials said.




"87 people have been killed and more than 600 others have sustained injuries by the two earthquakes which shook the East Azarbaijan province today," Director-General of East Azarbaijan province's Crisis-Management Headquarters Sa'ee said Saturday evening.

An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted the county of Ahar in the East Azerbaijan province at 16:00 hours local time (1130GMT) Saturday. The epicenter of the quake was located in an area 46.8 degrees in longitude and 38.4 degrees in latitude.

Almost an hour later another quake with magnitude 6 on the Richter scale jolted the county of Varzaqan at 17:04 hours local time (1234GMT) in the same province. The epicenter of the quake was located in an area 46.7 degrees in longitude and 38.4 degrees in latitude.

Sa'ee said the first quake has so far been followed by 9 aftershocks, adding that the quake has killed 30 people in the city of Ahar, 40 in Varaqan and 10 in Haris, while 7 others lost their lives on the way to hospital.

The official told the Iranian state-run TV that the 6-magnitude quake wounded 400 people in Ahar and the surrounding areas.

He added that 4 villages have been destroyed completely, while 60 others have sustained damage from 50 to 80 percent in Ahar region.

Meantime, head of Iran's emergency squad Abbas Fallah told FNA that the powerful quakes in the East Azarbaijan province have "wounded more than 600 people".
Officials have asked people in both areas to stay outdoors overnight.

Officials have also announced that the quake-stricken people in the area are in dire need of mineral water, bread and tent as drinking water has been cut in all villages in the area.

Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

The worst in recent times hit Bam in southeastern Kerman province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people - about a quarter of its population - and destroying the city's ancient mud-built citadel.

The deadliest quake in the country was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. It devastated 27 towns and about 1,870 villages.

Tehran alone sits on two major fault lines, and the capital's 14 million residents fear a major quake.