Two strong earthquakes struck northwestern Iran on Saturday August 11, killing so far over 180 people and leaving more than 1,300 injured.
Hassan Ghadami, deputy interior minister announced some hours ago that in Ahar 45 people, in Varzaghan, 40 and in Hereese, 50 were killed by the earthquake while another 18 have been pronouced dead after transfer to hospitals in Tabriz.
The number of wounded are continuously rising with the latest announcement set at 1,300 people.
Tehran University’s Seismological Centre announced that the first quake was registered at 4:53 local time with a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, followed by an aftershock measured at 6.0.
The tremors reportedly disrupted mobile and telephone communication systems, restricting access to information.
The earthquake was felt in Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan, triggering panic among the city’s 1.5 million people.
The cities of Ahar and Varzaghan, near Tabriz, were at the centre of today’s earthquake.
Officials report that Tabriz is facing snarled traffic and power outages in many parts of the city.
Reports from Ahar say numerous houses have been destroyed and ruptured gas pipes have created further hazards.
Iranian experts predict aftershocks may be felt in the region over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Iran sits along several major fault lines, making it prone to earthquakes.
An earthquake in 2003 in the southern city of Bam claimed the lives of 31,000 people and destroyed much of the city’s ancient citadel.