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Death toll in Iran quakes hits 227; 1380 injured
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altTABRIZ – According to the latest official reports, 227 people have died and 1380 have been injured in two successive earthquakes that hit the northwestern Iranian province of East Azarbaijan on Saturday. 
 
According to the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Tehran, a quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale hit the city of Ahar at 4:53 p.m. local time at a depth of 10 kilometers, and a 6 magnitude quake struck the city of Varzaqan at 5:04 p.m. local time at the same depth. 
 
The major earthquakes were followed by a number of aftershocks. 
 
Of the 538 villages in the East Azerbaijan, 110 villages sustained about 40 to 100 percent damage. 
 
And about 5000 buildings have been damaged.    
 
Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the quake-stricken areas, and the people affected by the earthquakes have been provided with temporary shelters and food supplies.
 
Health Minister Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi and Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar have visited the affected areas. 
 
A number of countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan, have offered their condolences to the Iranian nation and government over the earthquakes. 
 
Part of the message of sympathy of Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which was issued on Saturday, reads, “Our prayers are with our brothers and sisters in Iran affected by this natural calamity.”  
 
The Pakistani prime minister offered to extend assistance to the government and people of Iran at this hour of trial. 
 
He has issued directives to the concerned authorities in Pakistan to immediately establish contact with their counterparts in Iran and determine the nature and the kind of assistance which Pakistan can extend to the people affected by the earthquakes.  
 
He stated, “Natural calamities pose a serious challenge to all our countries. No region is immune to it. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy at the national, regional, and international levels in order to deal with natural disasters.” 
 
EP/PA

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Last Updated on 13 August 2012 18:47