by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Dec 6, 2012
A total of six people -- including five members of the same family -- died in an earthquake that struck rural eastern Iran, near the border with Afghanistan, Iranian media said Thursday.
The quake, which struck late Wednesday, measured 5.5 on the moment magnitude scale, according to Tehran University's Seismological Centre.
Five villages near the epicentre, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the town of Zohan, were destroyed and at least 11 others were damaged, according to Hassan Qadami, head of Iran's crisis management organisation.
An initial death toll given late Wednesday said five people were killed. That was revised up by one on Thursday, with the official IRNA news agency quoting the coroner's office to say all the fatalities came from two small villages.
Media reports said some two dozen people were injured. Search and rescue teams dispatched to the area overnight wrapped up their operation early Thursday.
The head of Iran's Relief and Rescue Organisation, Mahmoud Mozaffar, told the Mehr news agency the survivors in the area were bracing for below-zero weather and were in need of clean water and portable toilets.
Iran sits astride several major fault lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes, some of which have been devastating.
A double earthquake, one measuring 6.4 and the other 6.3, struck northwest Iran, near the city of Tabriz, in August this year, killing more than 300 people and injured 3,000.
In December 2003, a big quake struck the southern city of Bam. It killed 31,000 people -- about a quarter of the population -- and destroyed the city's ancient mud-built citadel.
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