News / Middle East

Iran Raises Quake Death Toll

Villages of Tabriz and Ahar, Iran impacted by recent earthquake
Villages of Tabriz and Ahar, Iran impacted by recent earthquake
VOA News
Iran has raised the death toll from Saturday's two earthquakes to more than 300, a day after rescuers called off the search for survivors.

Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi told a session of parliament Monday that the latest death toll stood at 306, with more than 3,000 injured.

The Iranian Red Crescent estimates that 180 villages were damaged with some completely destroyed near the city of Tabriz. The 6.4 and 6.3 magnitude quakes struck minutes apart late Saturday afternoon.

Dozens of aftershocks have rumbled through the area, prompting thousands of people to spend their nights outdoors.

  • A man looks at damaged houses in the earthquake-stricken village of Varzaqan near Ahar, in East Azerbaijan province, August 12, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in Varzaqan near Ahar. Iran's government faced criticism from lawmakers and the public on its handling of relief efforts, August 12, 2012.
  • Earthquake victims mourn in the village of Varzaqan, August 12, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in the village of Varzaqan near Ahar, August 12, 2012.
  • A general view shows the destruction in Ishikhli village, near the town of Varzaqan after twin earthquakes hit northwestern Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • A doorway near collapsed rubble in northwest Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • Earthquake victims stand near damaged houses in northwest Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • A damaged building in northwest Iran, August 12, 2012.
  • A house in ruins in Varzaqan after the earthquake hit, August 11, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in Varzaqan, August 11, 2012.
  • Rescue teams search for victims in Varzaqan, August 11, 2012.

A spokeswoman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies tells VOA from Geneva that they are working closely with Iran's Red Crescent and that they have set up 6,000 tents to accommodate an estimated 16,000 people who are displaced.  They are also providing basic supplies and blood donations for the victims.

The office of UN chief Ban Ki-moon released a statement Monday expressing the Secretary-General's condolences and offering humanitarian support.

The United States on Sunday offered help and condolences to the people of Iran.  The White House statement was addressed to the "Iranian people" and said the U.S. stands ready "to offer assistance in this difficult time," but made no mention of the Iranian government.

Earthquakes are common in Iran, but few are significant enough to be noticed. The last major earthquake in Iran was a magnitude 6.6 quake in 2003 in the southeastern city of Bam, where 30,000 people died.
Recent Deadly Earthquakes in Iran
Date Magnitude Location Death Toll
August 11, 2012 6.4 and 6.3 Near Tabriz More than 300
February 22, 2005 6.4 Zarand 600
December 26, 2003 6.8 Bam 30,000
May 10, 1997 7.1 Northeastern Iran 1,500
June 20, 1990 7.3 Rasht-Qazvin-Zanjan 50,000

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Comment Sorting
by: Mark Fritz from: Germany
August 13, 2012 3:51 PM
as a direct consequence of repeated earth quakes in the region the Iranian nuclear facilities are leaking radioactive pollution into the fresh water reservoir... Iran is the leading nation infected by "rare" cancers and drug addiction... according to the UN World Health Organization - someone here said that it could be "divine retribution" for the Islamic nation hatred for Israel... as a student of history... I tend to agree

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 13, 2012 7:52 AM
To the people of Iran, it's quite a pity the incident happened. Since earthquakes are natural out there, the people should take heart losing loved ones. But the government should allow enough humanitarian supplies into the country. Using only Red Crescent narrows the aid and succor available to the people. Iran should open up the society and allow the people see variety. Locking them up in the dungeon has never helped and will never help Iran.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 13, 2012 7:34 AM
Aid is not made for requiring thanks.

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