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At least 200 killed, 1,000 injured in Iranian earthquake

March 1, 1997

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Emergency crews reaching an earthquake-devastated region in northwest Iran said today more than 200 people died and at least 1,000 were injured, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The quake rocked the towns of Ardabil and Meshkinshahr and about 50 nearby villages, toppling homes and causing other damage, IRNA reported.

Rescue teams rushed to the area on the edge of the Talish Mountains, 365 miles northwest of the capital, Tehran.

The quake struck at 4:27 p.m. Friday (7:57 a.m. EST). It had a magnitude of 6.1 and was centered 20 miles west-southwest of Ardabil, according to the U.S. earthquake center in Golden, Colo. Iranian television reported the quake had a 5.5 magnitude.

Meanwhile, some of the injured from a deadly quake in a remote corner of western Pakistan _ 1,200 miles southeast of the Iranian quake site _ began arriving today in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. Stretchers lined hospital corridors and doctors made an appeal for blood donations.

Rescuers said more than 100 people were killed and dozens injured when the magnitude-7.3 quake shook the province early Friday.

The quake was centered near Quetta, about 400 miles southwest of Islamabad, the capital, but the hardest hit region was the remote Sibi district.

Villagers dug with bare hands through mud in search of their neighbors. Most of the dead were buried when their flimsy homes, made of sunbaked mud, collapsed.

Ambulance workers estimate that 75 people died in Harnai, a village in Sibi that is only 30 miles from the quake’s epicenter.

Pakistan’s rescue workers were hampered in reaching the scene by the remoteness of the area and the damage to roads leading into the region.

The main road collapsed and the rail line to Quetta was badly damaged by the earthquake, said Zarar Haider, deputy commissioner of Sibi.

Both Pakistan and Iran suffer numerous quakes each year.

The worst earthquake in the Baluchistan area hit in 1935, killing 30,000 people. The deadliest recent quake in Iran claimed about 50,000 lives in 1990.

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