1. A series of tremors occurred in Iran early this morning. The UN Resident Coordinator's office in Tehran reports that, according to information received from the National Disaster Task Force (DTF) of the Ministry of Interior, the strongest earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale hit the province of Fars in southern Iran at 03:31 a.m. local time (23:01 GMT); aftershock tremors are still impacting the area. The Shiraz seismological centre put the epicentre at Kouh-Mareh-Sorkhi about 50 km southwest of Shiraz, the provincial capital. Other geological monitoring sources (United States Geological Survey) put the magnitude of the earthquake slightly lower (6.3 on the Richter scale).
2. According to the Iranian media, 20 people have lost their lives and 80 have been injured. Damage is reported in 20 villages, including Richi, Karebass, Chenar-Karyab and Vafkan in Shiraz and the Famour village in Kazeroun. The damage to the residential areas is between 30 and 100 per cent, and roads, electricity, water networks, medical centres and schools have been damaged.
3. The DTF, relief workers, Red Crescent Society of Iran, the Army and the staff of the Construction Crusade (Ministry of Jihad) of the area have begun search and rescue operations. According to the Fars General Governor who visited the area, all injured have been evacuated and the relief operation is effectively under way.
4. No appeal for assistance has been issued.
5. OCHA is in close contact with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Tehran, Iran, who is closely monitoring the development of the situation. OCHA is also in contact with the international relief community.
6. This situation report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int
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R. Mueller/Ms. M. Kondo,
OCHA Disaster Response Branch, direct Tel. +41-22-917-21 44 / 31 31 / 19 97
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