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Quake Kills Hundreds in Iran - 2002-06-22


Iranian authorities have revised downward the casualty toll from an earthquake in northwestern Iran.

Authorities now say at least 220 are dead, half of the previous reported death toll.

Another 1,000 people are believed injured. Earlier report said 1,000 were hurt after the quake devastated a series of villages.

The rumblings of the quake that rocked Iran's Qazvin province Saturday may have exceeded 6.0 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was in the town of Bou'in Zahra, 225 kilometers west of the capital, Tehran, where the reverberations also were felt.

Majid Shalviri, head of the provincial Red Crescent Society, said that most of the deaths occurred in Qazvin province. The earthquake and several aftershocks were also reported to have hit other provinces in the north, central and western parts of the country.

Mohamed Hossien Parvinian, deputy governor of Qazvin province, told Iran's official news agency that 10 villages in the province suffered damage ranging between 50 and 100 percent.

Iranian President Mohamed Khatami sent a condolence message over state-run television and called on the Interior Ministry to cooperate with other agencies in speeding assistance to the victims.

Rescue workers have already been dispatched, but many of the affected locations are in rural and possibly hard to reach areas.

Earlier, the official news agency reported the quake measured 5.2 on the Richter scale, but the U.S. Geological Survey has reported a magnitude of 6.3

Nearly 40 years ago an earthquake struck the same area in Iran, killing more than 12,000 people and demolishing 124 villages. Iran lies on seismic fault lines where tremors are a regular occurrence.

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