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Quake again shakes western Iran

Tehran, Nov 25, IRNA -- An earthquake measuring 3.8 on the open-ended Richter scale rocked the suburbs of Poldokhtar in the western Iranian province of Lorestan, with no immediate report on probable damage.

Seismological bases of the Tehran University's Geophysics Institute said the tremor hit at 11:52 a.m. (0822 GMT).

Poldokhtar or 'The Bridge of the Girl' in Persian and the neighboring villages have shaken by a dozen earthquakes since last week, with the strongest temblor reported at 4.9 degrees in intensity.

According to the head of the provincial Natural Disasters Department, at least 10 people were slightly injured in the quakes.

The quakes further damaged 1,100 houses in villages and 900 houses in cities with the extent of damages ranging between 10 and 100 percent, according to Ali Barani.

Quakes in quick successions have triggered a flurry of panic among local residents, with many having had to stay away from their homes at nights, sometimes in wet weather and freezing temperatures.

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.

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.

The quake sent shudders across the Iranian capital -- a city of about 14 million -- which, some experts warn, can suffer in million if it is struck by a strong tremor.

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

Last week, Iran admitted that poor enforcement of building regulations had added to the death toll from the country's regular devastating earthquakes.

"Our country is likely to have natural disasters but our people do not deserve these losses because of mismanagement before the earthquakes occur," Interior Ministry Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari was quoted as saying.

... Payvand News - 11/25/04 ... --

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