TEHRAN, Iran (The Blaze/AP) — Iranian state television has raised the toll from Saturdays’ twin earthquakes to over 250 dead and at least 2,000 injured.
Images broadcast on the main news channel showed dozens of families of sleeping outdoors in parks, with blankets laid out on the ground. Some were crying, others shivering from chilly weather in the mountainous region hit by the quake in the northwestern part of the country.
TV also showed many people evacuated by rescue teams on stretchers to hospitals and clinics. Other images showed the injured in hospital beds.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that Saturday’s first quake at 4:53 p.m. had a magnitude of 6.4 and struck 37 miles northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers. Its epicenter was a region between the towns of Ahar and Haris, about 200 miles northwest of the capital Tehran, according to Khalil Saei, local Crisis Committee chief, the TV report said.
The second quake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck 11 minutes later, the U.S.G.S. reported. Its epicenter was 29 miles northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 6.1 miles.
The quakes hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province, the TV report said. At least six villages were totally leveled, and 60 others sustained damage ranging from 50 to 80 percent, it said.
Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one earthquake every day on average, although the vast majority are so small they go unnoticed.
In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam.