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    A powerful earthquake struck north-eastern Iran, at 10.47 G.M.T. on Saturday, August 31st, inflicting heavy?

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    Background: A powerful earthquake struck north-eastern Iran, at 10.47 G.M.T. on Saturday, August 31st, inflicting heavy damage, serious casualities and loss of life estimated at over 20,000 persons to date, over an area of 2000 square kilometres situated between 32???? to 37???? latitude and 40???? to 60???? longitude, in the province of Khorassan on the Afghan border.

    The intensity of the shock recorded by seismographs was calculated at 7-8 on the Richter Scale and lasted fully 4 minutes. The epicentre of the earthquake was the village of Kakhk situated approximately 290 kilometres south west of Mashad. At least 11 more tremors rippled through the devasted area spreading ruin and desolation in the surrounding townships of Gonabad, Qa'en, Ferdows, Birjand, Dat-e-Biaz, Kezri and Torbat Heidarieh on the edge of the Kavir Desert.

    His Imperial Majesty, the Shahanshah immediately ordered the Governmental Organizations to mobilize rescue and relief units to be rushed to the stricken areas- Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveida stated from Gonabad in his report to the Shahanshah that, although most of Ferdows has been destroyed by Saturday's shock, high casualities had also been sustained in Kakhk, Dast-e-Biaz and Kezri. He added that an improvised 60-bed Hospital has been put into operation in Ferdows and a Second, with 100 beds in Gonabad.

    Extensive aid & rescue operations, combining the Emergency relief units of the Red Lion and Sun Society, the Army, and the local Gendarmerie forces rushing the injured to emergency field Hospitals. A relief centre set up at RLSS headquarters has already flown out 4 fully equipped field hospital units including 10 surgeons, 50 nurses and 120 beds.

    Since due to the damage, access by road to most parts of the Stricken area has become difficult, the Shahanshah who has been directing the relief operations since the disaster struck, has ordered the construction of small landing strips close to these areas to permit landing of DC3's.

    Hundreds of trucks carrying supplies have left for Khorassan, donations are pouring in to help the victims of the disaster and for the long job of reconstruction ahead.

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