Iran’s death toll from its twin earthquakes Saturday has jumped to 306 after 50 of the 3,000 injured people died in the hospital. About 2,000 more were released within a couple days, having sustained only minor injuries. The quakes hit the Northwest region of Iran, near its borders with Azerbaijan an Armenia, in the towns of Ahar, Haris, and Varzaqan.
Twelve villages were flattened, and 425 more were damaged by 50 to 80 percent. Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi has reported that most of the deaths resulted from the collapsing of heavy roofs that were not held up by frames.
Despite the panic it inspired in many villagers, who, after experiencing the the initial shocks of 6.2 and 6.4 earthquakes, felt 36 aftershocks, Iran nevertheless has turned aside the outreaches of foreign aid from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, UNICEF, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany, and they even sent Turkey’s rescue team back home when it showed up on its own initiative. The quake has been relatively small compared to the Iranian quake in 2003 which killed 26,000 people.
As Iran lives near seismic fault lines, these sorts of incidents are inevitable, and it may be a boon that only 300 of the 300,000 people living in the area died, though 219 of them were women and children.