The death toll from a series of earthquakes that flattened remote mud villages in mountainous northeastern Iran now stands at 72. Two hundred are reported injured.
Worsening the situation were more than 100 aftershocks -- one Wednesday measured 5.7 on the Richter scale, according to Radio Tehran. The earthquakes and aftershocks were centered in and around Bojnurd, about 360 miles northeast of Tehran. Two earthquakes Tuesday measured 5.4 and 6.1 on the Richter scale.
The dead lived in Bojnurd and nearby Shirvan, rescue workers said. Villages there were either leveled or heavily damaged, and rescue teams have yet to reach some two dozen other communities cut off due to damaged roads and landslides. The Bojnurd area, near the border with Turkmenistan, has an estimated population of 14,000 people.
More than 2,800 houses in the region were severely damaged, said the Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross.
Emergency supplies -- including tents, blankets, foodstuffs, clothing and heaters -- were being sent by land and air to the stricken rural region, but snow and the damaged roads have hindered relief efforts.
The Middle East Council of Churches, the CWS partner in the region, has a representative in Iran who is assessing needs.
Call the CWS HOTLINE for updates: (800) 456-1310.
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