2 Die in 6.1-Magnitude Quake Near Mashhad

2 Die in 6.1-Magnitude Quake Near Mashhad  2 Die in 6.1-Magnitude Quake Near Mashhad

Two people died and 34 were wounded after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the central and eastern parts of Khorasan Razavi Province on Wednesday.

The quake's epicenter was in Sefid Sang Village, a remote mountainous area home to 5,000 people, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Mashhad.

According to a report by a seismography center affiliated to Tehran University Geophysics Institute, the tremor occurred at 10:40 am local time at a depth of 10 km, news outlets reported.

"We have all the emergency teams on call and there is no concern regarding the provision of aid services," Mojtaba Khaledi, spokesperson of the country's Emergency Services Organization, was quoted by IRNA as saying.

He acknowledged that there are fears that casualties in villages and small towns could be high.        

The quake also shook neighboring cities of Gonabad and Torbat Heydarieh. According to Mashhad Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, houses in 12 villages around the large metropolis had suffered around 80% damage.

All hospitals in the affected areas were on standby, and 10 ambulances and five teams of Iranian Red Crescent Society, comprising 25 rescue and relief staff, were deployed to the stricken areas.

In Mashhad, home to nearly 3 million people, residents left their homes and poured into the streets. Pictures posted on social media showed deep cracks in the roads and buildings, including the wall of Imam Reza Bazaar adjacent to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the Eighth Shia Imam.

Telephone lines in a number of affected areas were cut off in the early hours after the quake hit and authorities were in contact with different areas through wireless communication.

Barely an hour after the tremor, 15 aftershocks were registered measuring between 3 and 5 degree magnitude. By Wednesday evening, nearly 300 affected people were sheltered in safe spaces.

Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth’s crust and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating. The worst in recent times hit Bam in Kerman Province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people (about a quarter of its population) and destroying the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.


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