Eight dead in earthquake in eastern Iran

Wed Dec 5, 2012 5:39pm EST
 
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DUBAI (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring 5.5 in magnitude struck eastern Iran on Wednesday, killing eight people and injuring 12 others as emergency teams scrambled to rescue others and treat the injured, Iranian media reported.

People fled their homes as the quake struck and brought walls and buildings down. But others were left trapped under rubble in villages across the district of Zohan in South Khorasan province, Fars news agency said.

"Eight people have been killed in the earthquake area and one person is missing. Unfortunately a number of those injured have lost their lives in the last few hours," Mehr news agency quoted South Khorasan's crisis management director Mohammad Ali Akhundi as saying.

"Homes have sustained damage and people are out in public places and they need the means to keep themselves warm because of the cold," he said.

Iran's Red Crescent Society despatched 15 rescue teams to the affected areas to search for people stuck under the debris and doctors in the provincial capital of Birjand were on alert to treat those hurt, Fars new agency reported.

Rescue units of Iran's national Basij militia also joined operations, despatching three medical teams.

Emergency workers had reached some areas and the number of confirmed dead could rise, Tehran's deputy emergency services director Mohammad Sarvar said.

Two villages appeared to have sustained the worst of the damage including the village of Sharaj where five people were killed, Mehr news agency quoted district governor Farhad Falahati as saying.

"We have what we need to help but landslides especially on the route to Sharaj have stopped the relief supplies from getting there," he added.   Continued...