2 strong earthquakes shake Iran in less than 24 hours, wounding several hundred people

Saturday, July 31, 2010

2 strong earthquakes hit Iran, injuring hundreds

TEHRAN, Iran — Two strong earthquakes shook different parts of Iran in less than 24 hours, injuring more than 200 people and damaging hundreds of homes, Iranian media reported Saturday.

The first quake, which had a magnitude of 5.7, struck villages and towns in the northeast on Friday evening, injuring more than 200 people, said Mojtaba Sadeqian, governor of the town hardest hit, Torbat-e Heydariyeh. Two of the injured were in critical condition, the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

The semiofficial ILNA news agency reported a higher injury toll, putting the number at 274.

Iranian TV footage showed parts of buildings reduced to rubble and homes strewn with shattered glass and other debris. Communications were also temporarily disrupted.

Late Saturday morning, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake rattled the Negar region, 670 miles (more than 1,000 kilometers) south of the capital, Tehran. There were no reports of casualties, but state television said there was extensive damage, most of it to buildings made of mud and brick.

“Due to the old and traditional structure of the buildings, the quake damaged 700 houses,” Negar Mayor Ali Reza Kazemi said, according to IRNA.

Iran, which is located on seismic fault lines, experiences at least one slight earthquake every day on average.

Some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam in 2003.

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