300 killed in twin quakes in Iran (Lead)

August 12th, 2012 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Aug 12 (IANS) A day after two major earthquakes jolted northwestern Iran, the toll has risen to 300, Fars news agency reported.

According to Iranian Seismological Centre, a quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, with a depth of 10 km, struck Ahar city in the East Azerbaijan province at 4.53 p.m. Saturday, flattening homes and buildings in a wide area.

Another quake with magnitude 6 hit nearby Varzaqan in the same province barely minutes later at 5.04 p.m., causing more destruction.

According to Fars, Reza Sadiqi, the governor of Ahar county in East Azerbaijan province, said the number of fatalities in the quake-stricken regions mounted to 300, Xinhua reported.

Some 2,600 others have been injured, an official of Iran’s Red Crescent Society told semi-official ISNA news agency.

The quakes, jolting East Azerbaijan province, damaged some 110 villages, said Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Qaddami earlier in the day.

At least 12 villages have been levelled thoroughly, while 60 others have been affected 50 percent to 80 percent in Ahar region of the province.

The deadliest quake in Iran was in June 1990 when a 7.7-magnitude tremor killed some 37,000 people and left over 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan.

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