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Iran: Quake leaves 81 people injured in Karaj

Tehran, May 29, IRNA -- Friday's relatively strong quake which hit a large part of Iran left 81 people injured in Karaj, a city 35 kms west of Tehran, Head of the Natural Disasters Headquarters Ali Jahanbakhshi said here on Saturday.

Chalous road (photo: ISNA)

Jahanbakhshi told IRNA that 29 out of the injured have been hospitalized and the rest received outpatient treatment.

He said the quake also left no casualty in Tehran.

The official said 12 residential units were also damaged in villages of Asara, Oshan, Fasahm and Meygoon.

He said that based on information available the quake damaged seven houses in Tehran.

Another IRNA report says that at least 21 people were killed and 250 others injured in the Caspian province of Mazandaran as a result of the earthquake.

An official has said the death toll is likely to rise.

Chalous road (photo: ISNA)

Most of the deaths came at a gorge, where several passing cars were crushed and mangled under falling rocks on a road, which links capital Tehran to Mazandaran province.

According to the governor of Kalardasht, two people were killed Saturday morning after being hit by falling rocks at the Kalleh-No village.

Deputy head for civil affairs of the governor general's office in Mazandaran, Naseeraddin Shahrokhi, said many cars are still buried on the Kandovan road.

Damaged village in north of Iran (photo: ISNA)

There were also three deaths and 20 injuries in the northwestern Qazvin province, officials said.

According to Shahrokhi, the quake destroyed part of the Kandovan road, cutting off 40 villages in the cities of Noshahr and Chalous.

The earthquake, registering 5.5 degrees on the Richter scale, struck Friday evening, sending residents in many cities, including in the sprawling capital of Tehran, to the streets in panic.

Some residents in Tehran spent the night outdoors, fearing further tremors.

Spending the night out in Tehran (photo: ISNA)

Doctors at a hospital in Tehran said a man had broken both his legs after jumping from his house in a southern neighborhood.

Seismological bases of Tehran University have recorded more than 65 aftershocks, ranging in magnitude between less than 5.5 and 1.6 degrees on the Richter scale, since the first quake hit.

They put the epicenter of the tremor at Baladeh, 70 kilometers north of Tehran in Mazandaran province.

Iranians are still haunted by harrowing images of the world's worst disaster in 2003, in which more than 41,000 people were killed in the ancient city of Bam in December.

According to the Zurich-based Swiss Re, the earthquake in Bam on December 26 was the fourth largest in terms of victims since 1970. The third largest was the quake in Gilan, northern Iran, which left 50,000 dead in 1990.

Friday quake rattled the nerves of residents in Tehran -- a city of about 14 million, where construction regulations are widely flouted according to the press.

Spending the night out in Tehran (photo: ISNA)

It was the most powerful in recent years.

Experts have warned that most of the buildings in the sprawling Iranian capital would hardly withstand a strong tremor, blaming builders.

Seismological specialists also say Tehran could suffer casualties in million, if it is struck by a strong earthquake, like the one which hit Bam.

They say at least 15 years have passed since the probable occurrence of a major temblor in Tehran, making the city widely prone to powerful temblors.

On Saturday, newspapers in the capital carried apocalyptic headlines across their front pages and chided officials for paying no heed to the warning of seismological experts.

"Night of Terror," ran the headline on Aftab-e Yazd daily, adding "What Lessons Did We Learn from Bam Earthquake?"

"Seven-second shock in Tehran" read the daily Jaam-e Jam.

Gholamali Haddad-Adel, who was elected as interim parliament speaker Saturday, said Friday earthquake was an 'alarm bell reminding us whether we have learnt our lesson from Bam quake'.

Tehran straddles major fault lines in the Alborz chain of mountains.

... Payvand News - 5/29/04 ... --

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