Deadly earthquakes rock Iran

6 villages completely destroyed

TEHRAN | August 12, 2012

The death toll from two earthquakes that rocked northwestern Iran rose to 250 Sunday with at least 2,000 others injured, government officials said.

The Saturday afternoon quakes and subsequent aftershocks damaged at least 110 villages in the province of East Azarbaijan, Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Qaddami told the semi-official Fars News Agency.

Six villages were completely destroyed, the Tehran Times reported.

The first earthquake at 4 p.m. near Tabriz, the country's fourth-largest city, measured 6.2 on the Richter scale and the second, about an hour later, measured 6.0, officials said.

Early Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said there had been an aftershock measuring 4.0 in the same area, but there were no immediate details of injuries or damage.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society said it had distributed more than 5,600 tents as the government urged people in the region to stay outdoors, Fars said.

At a news conference in Tehran, Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Ghadami said the disaster scene was under control.

"All those under debris have been rescued and the quake-stricken people are now being provided with their basic needs," he said.

Iran straddles several seismic fault lines prone to earthquakes. In 2003, more than 25,000 people in the city of Bam were killed by a major quake.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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