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Iran: Bam quake killed 9,000 students, 2,000 instructors: governor

The devastating earthquake in southeastern Bam killed up to 9,000 young students in addition to 2,000 teachers and other personnel of the city's education office, its governor Ali Shafi'ie said on Sunday, IRNA reported from Bam.

photo: ISNA

Meanwhile, 103 university students were killed in the tremor which claimed the lives of thousands, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes of the region.

So far, about 35,000 bodies have been buried, according to official toll figures. Shafi'ie said between 2,000 and 3,000 more bodies are estimated to still lie beneath the rubble.

The head of the Organization for Renovation, Development and Equipment of Schools, Mohammad Ali Afshani, said schools were the least damaged in the Bam earthquake.

This factor, however, did not help slash the death toll, given the fact that the temblor struck at dawn, when most of the residents were fast asleep.

According to the official, 51 schools of the total 250 in the city survived the earthquake without any impact, while 97 others - mostly built with mud-brick - were totally demolished.

"Not a single glass was broken in the schools which were handed over for use last year. Newly-built sports building were also among the structures which resisted the earthquake," Afshani said.

Education officials have ordered school principals across the country to exempt Bam students from the requirement to present certificates whenever they refer for enrollment.

Bam and its surrounding areas, home to about 200,000 people, were rattled by a strong tremor at 5:28 hours (0158 GMT) on Friday. Most of the buildings in the city are shoddily-built with mud bricks.

The death toll from the massive temblor has been put at around 30,000, but the final figure is feared to rise.

The Tehran Geophysics Institute put the magnitude of the quake at 6.3 degrees, while international seismological observatories recorded the tremor as strong as 6.7 degrees.

The desert city, located 1,000 kilometers southeast of capital Tehran, is home to several landmarks, including a 2000-old citadel, said to be the world's biggest mud-brick structure, which is almost gone now.

... Payvand News - 1/5/04 ... --

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