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News number: 9102110537

18:15 | 2012-05-04

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Quake Ruins 50 Villages in Western Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- A 5.5-magnitude earthquake, which shook large parts of Iran's Western provinces of Ilam and Kermanshah on Thursday, has ruined 50 villages, a senior Relief and Rescue official announced on Friday.



Speaking to FNA, Acting Deputy of the Iranian Red Crescent Society's Relief and Rescue Organization Ahmad Reza Shajiyee said that the strong earthquake has damaged 50 villages 30 to 80 percent in the quake-hit areas mostly in Abdanan, Sarabagh and Khonk-gah in Ilam province.

The earthquake has affected 3518 and injured 18 people in the region.

The Seismological center of Ilam province affiliated to the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University registered the quake at 14:39 hours local time (1009 GMT).

The epicenter of the quake was located in an area 47.6 degrees in longitude and 32.7 degrees in latitude.

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.