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article imageNorthern Iran hit by two earthquakes in succession (video update)

By Anne Sewell     Aug 11, 2012 in Environment
Ahar - The north of Iran has been hit by two earthquakes on Saturday, one magnitude 6.3 and the other 6.4. Aftershocks continue to rock the area. Over 300 people are dead and 3,000 are injured.
According to U.S. Geological Survey, the 6.4 tremor, at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), hit 12 miles from the town of Ahar in East Azerbaijan province, at 12:23:17 UTC.
The magnitude 6.3 quake hit 19 miles from Ahar, at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles) shortly afterwards, at 12:34:35 UTC.
Iran is generally susceptible to earthquakes, as it is located on seismic fault lines. However, while tremors hit the country each day, very few are significant enough to be noticed.
The epicenter is reported to be the village of Varzgan. Earthquake Report states that Mehr news is reporting heavy damage to clay housing, and that victims were transferred to hospitals.
They state that emergency evaluation teams are on the way to Ahar and Tabriz, where power and telecommunications are reportedly cut. There are also mobile telecommunication problems in Tabriz. While there were reports of people are panicking in the town, there are no reports of damage or casualties.
The latest report is that the earthquake area is experiencing many aftershocks of up to magnitude 5 or more.
Update: Fars news agency has quoted the country's Interior Ministry in saying that 87 people are dead and 600 are injured from the earthquakes.
However Reuters is reporting 153 people dead and more than 1,300 injured. The number of casualties is expected to rise.
Abbas Fallah, a lawmaker in Ahar told reporters, "Sixty villages… have been heavily damaged and are in need of help." He added that four villages have been completely destroyed.
Officials have also announced that the quake-stricken people in the area are in dire need of mineral water, bread and tents. Drinking water has been cut in all villages in the area.
Update 2: Iran State TV has now announced that over 300 are dead and at least 3,000 people are injured.
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