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Death toll from Iran earthquake rises

28 August 2010 16:05

The death toll of a magnitude-5.9 earthquake that rocked the northeastern Iranian city of Damghan has reached three with 21 others wounded.

“Two children and an elderly woman were the three [victims] who lost their lives in the magnitude-5.9 quake, that hit villages near Shahrood and Damghan on Friday night,” Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar told IRIB on Saturday.

The children lost their live at the scene of the quake, but the elderly woman died later at hospital.

The epicenter of the earthquake, which took place at 11:53 pm (1923 GMT) Friday, was located near the city of Damghan, Semnan Province, in the Kavir plains about 105 kilometers (65 miles) east of the provincial capital of Semnan and 285 kilometers (175 miles) east of Tehran.

At least 19 people were hospitalized in Damghan, Mohammad-Najjar said, adding that they were all in good conditions.

He said that 15 villages with 2,500 residents in the province were also damaged.

The minister noted that relief teams are dispatching aid to the quake-stricken people and hoped the reconstruction process would begin at the earliest.

Meanwhile, head of the State Emergency Center Gholam Reza Masoumi said that two people have been hospitalized in Semnan, bringing the number of the injured to 21.

Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, being crossed by several major fault lines in the Earth’s crust that cover at least 90% of the country.

As a result, it is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

Since 1900, at least 126,000 fatalities have resulted from earthquakes in Iran.

The worst in recent times was a magnitude-6.6 quake which hit the southern city of Bam in December 2003, killing about 30,000 people, about a quarter of its population, and destroying the city’s ancient adobe citadel.

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