Lethal earthquakes rock western Iran, 70 or more die

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Friday, March 31, 2006 At least 70 people are dead and hundreds more injured after three earthquakes and several aftershocks rocked western Iran between Doroud and Boroujerd in the Lorestan province at 11:06 p.m. local time (1936 GMT) on Thursday. Some estimates of those injured currently range between 700-1,200 people.

The first earthquake measured a 4.7 on the Richter magnitude scale and was in a mountainous area and the second measured a 5.1. The third quake measured a 6.0 and hit Doroud and the villages surrounding the area at 4:47 a.m. local time (0117 GMT) on Friday.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, however, a 5.7 magnitude quake occurred at 0117 UTC followed by an earthquake of 4.7 magnitude fifteen minutes later. They also report that the previous day, a quake measuring 4.7 in magnitude occurred in the same area.

Power has been cut to some areas and there are reports of at least 330 villages that have been severely damaged. Some reports say that at least 20 villages have been destroyed. Thousands have been left homeless as a result.

In December of 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake killed over 31,000 people and in February of 2005 a 6.4 eathquake killed 600 people near Zarand in the Kerman province.

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