Rescue Operations End After Iran Quakes Kill 250
By the CNN Wire Staff
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Rescue operations have ended in Iran after two strong earthquakes that killed at least 250 people, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Sunday.
Another 1,800 people were injured in the quakes that shook East Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran, the report said, citing Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Qaddami.
He added that 110 villages were damaged.
Some of those villages were destroyed, the report said, citing provincial officials.
“All those under debris have been rescued and the quake-stricken people are now being provided with their basic needs,” said Qaddami.
A third earthquake struck early Sunday morning in the same region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from that quake.
The quakes struck near Tabriz, the country’s fourth-largest city.
The cities of Ahar and Varzagan are the hardest hit, Khalil Saei, the provincial director of crisis management, told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.
The first earthquake, a magnitude 6.4, hit Saturday at 4:53 p.m. local time, 37 miles northeast of Tabriz, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which measured 11 aftershocks. Just 11 minutes later, a second quake, measuring 6.3, struck 30 miles northeast of Tabriz.
On Sunday morning, at 7:55 a.m. local time, a magnitude-4.0 earthquake struck just outside of Ahar, the USGS said.
Authorities reported dozens of aftershocks in the region following the quakes and asked residents to spend the night outdoors as a safety precaution.
Iran sits on major fault lines — the collision of the Arabia and Eurasia plates — and has been prone to devastating earthquakes.
Nine years ago, 30,000 people died in an earthquake in Bam in southeastern Kerman province. In 1990, about 50,000 were killed in a quake near the Caspian Sea.
CNN’s Shirzad Bozorgmehr and Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.