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Deadly earthquakes leave at least 250 dead in Iran

Immigration News

Two strong earthquakes have killed 220 people and injured another 1,500 in north-west Iran where rescuers frantically combed through the rubble of dozens of villages on Saturday night.

Thousands fled their homes and remained outdoors after the quakes as at least 40 aftershocks hit the area.

Casualty figures are expected to rise, Iranian officials said, as some of the injured were in critical condition while others were still trapped under the rubble inaccessible to rescue workers hampered by darkness in the first hours after the quakes.

Six villages were destroyed and about 60 sustained more than 50 percent damage, Iranian media reported. About 110 villages were damaged in the quakes, Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Ghadami was quoted by Fars as saying.

According to the official IRNA news agency, 66 rescue teams were at work, using 40 devices and seven dog squads to detect buried survivors.

“Unfortunately there are still a number of people trapped in the rubble but finding them is very difficult because of the darkness,” the Fars news agency quoted the national emergency head Gholam Reza Masoumi as saying.

IRNA quoted Bahram Samadirad, a provincial official from the coroner’s office, as saying: “Since some people are in a critical condition … it is possible for the number of casualties to rise.”

The U.S. Geological Survey measured Saturday’s first quake at 6.4 magnitude and said it struck 60 km (37 miles) northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles). A second quake measuring 6.3 struck 49 km (30 miles) northeast of Tabriz 11 minutes later at a similar depth.

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