6.5-magnitude quake hits Iranian villages
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 12:10 PM
TEHRAN - At least 11 people died during a 6.5-magnitude earthquake Monday night in southeastern Iran, state radio reported Tuesday.
The total number of casualties was unclear at midday Tuesday, but the semiofficial Fars news agency reported that in one area in the province of Kerman, at least 1,800 houses were damaged. There were several reports of people trapped under rubble.
The tremor's epicenter was 60 miles from the ancient city of Bam, where a 2003 quake killed at least 26,000 people.
State radio reported that the worst-hit area appeared to be a stretch of impoverished villages in which a total of about 4,000 people live in mud-brick houses. Even moderate quakes in this part of Iran have killed thousands in the past, mainly because of shoddy construction techniques and poor infrastructure.
Medical teams from the Red Crescent, the Islamic Red Cross, were dispatched to the area. But roads are reportedly blocked, and phone lines have been cut off.
"We are distributing heating appliances and water among survivors," said Mohammad Barzang, the governor of the Rigan province, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.