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Iran: Disasters HQ in Damavand holds emergency session after successive quakes

The Natural Disasters Headquarters of the town of Damavand near the capital Tehran jumped into action on Sunday to take necessary measures after the area was rattled by a series of earthquakes in succession, IRNA reported.

Local officials seemed to have taken a lesson from the December 26 earthquake in the city of Bam, in which more than 43,000 people died, which reportedly succeeded a series of moderate tremors.

Seismological bases of Tehran University's Geophysics Institute on Sunday registered a tremor with the magnitude of 3.6 degrees at 13:24 (0954 GMT) in Damavand which is situated 80 km northeast of Tehran. It followed another earthquake measuring 4.4 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale, which struck a day before.

The head of Damavand's Natural Disasters Headquarters, Hashem Valipour, appealed to the local residents to 'stay calm and cooperate with the related state institutions by observing safety measures at home and in public places'.

"All the related offices and institutions have been ordered to remain ready and vigilant and prepare relief squads as well as light and heavy vehicles and other equipment for possible relief operations," he said.

The earthquakes have also sounded alarm bells in the sprawling capital Tehran which, seismological specialists say, could suffer casualties in million, if it is struck by a strong earthquake.

The daily Tosse'e on Sunday quoted seismologist Dr Bahram Akasheh as saying that 15 years have passed since the probable occurrence of a major temblor in Tehran.

Specialists say delays of this extent could result in probable future earthquakes striking with added force.

"Greater Tehran is prone to earthquakes of even above seven degrees on the Richter scale," the paper quoted Akasheh as saying.

It said, "The earthquake of Damavand yesterday (Saturday) once again made Tehranis fearful of a big earthquake."

... Payvand News - 2/22/04 ... --

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