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IRAN - Dec. 26 - Earthquake Hits Bam; Over 30,000 Killed.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale destroys the historic city of Bam in Kerman province, killing over 30,000 people according to figures by Dec. 31. Over 60% of the buildings in Bam, a popular tourist attraction some 1,000 km south-east of Tehran, collapsed. The quake struck at about 5:30 a.m. local time when most people in the city were asleep in their homes. Several helicopters were deployed to help with rescue efforts. Another quake measuring 4 on the Richter scale hit the oil producing town of Masjed Soleyman in the south-western Khuzestan province. The Kerman governorate and the Tehran government called for international help and for donors to send drugs and equipment rather than more volunteers, with the US taking part (see Arab-US Relations). Bam was visited by President Khatami, Supreme Leader Ayat. Khamenei and other top officials. (Quakes are a regular occurrence in Iran, which is crossed by several major fault-lines in the earth's structure. In June 2002, a tremor measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit the north, killing at least 229 people and injuring more than 1,000. Some 35,000 people were killed in 1990 when earthquakes of up to 7.7 on the Richter scale hit the north-west. Tehran was hit by a quake of about 7 on the Richter scale in 1830. The US Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Centre said its measuring equipment indicated the Dec. 26 quake had a magnitude of 6.7. It said the epicentre of the "strong earthquake" appeared to be about 980 km south-east of Tehran. Geophysics Prof. of Tehran University Bahram Akasheh, a leading quake expert, told Reuters in October that earthquake education in Iran was very poor. "Most people think what God wills, will happen. This is absolutely wrong. This thinking is poisonous").
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Dec 31, 2003
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