By Marcus George
DUBAI | Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:31am EDT
(Reuters) – Rescue workers in Iran on Tuesday recovered more bodies three days after two powerful earthquakes struck the northwest of the country, killing more than 300 people, but officials played down reports that casualty numbers may still sharply rise.
The quakes, with magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.3, struck East Azerbaijan province on Saturday afternoon, flattening villages and injuring thousands of people around the towns of Ahar, Varzaghan, and Harees, near the provincial capital Tabriz.
A rescue team using sniffer dogs had pulled out the body of a young woman in the village of Sorkhgav, Fars news agency reported on Tuesday, and was close to finding others.
Another report, by Iran’s Labour news agency, said hundreds of villages had suffered severe damage, raising fears that the number of dead could mount sharply as rescuers reach previously inaccessible areas.
However, officials dismissed the idea that the number of fatalities could rise significantly, saying the eventual figure may in fact be lower than current estimates.
“Many figures are based on speculation and have not been documented,” Behram Samadi Rad, a provincial coroner, said. “We cannot give a precise figure for the number of dead but we believe it will be under 300.”
In Tehran, Karaj and Qom, thousands visited clinics late into the night to donate blood, Press TV reported, including Iran’s Olympic gold medal-winning weight lifter, Behdad Salimi.
“I truly feel terrible for the people of East Azerbaijan. I want to do what I can to help them. The most important thing is to donate blood because of the shortage,” he said.
- Reuters: More bodies recovered as Iran quakes relief effort continues: DUBAI (Reuters) – Rescue workers recovere… (reuters.com)
- DTN Iran: More bodies recovered as Iran quakes relief effort continues: DUBAI (Reuters) – Rescue workers recover… (news.yahoo.com)
- Ahmadinejad Takes Heat For Iran Quake Response (foxnews.com)
- Two quakes in Iran kill 180 and injure 1,500 (news.yahoo.com)
- Two quakes in Iran kill 180 and injure 1,500 (abs-cbnnews.com)