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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 16:33 GMT
Straw makes Iran quake aid pledge
The UK government has offered sympathy and aid to Iranians
The UK has offered aid to Iran, with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw offering his sympathy, after hundreds were killed by an earthquake in the country.

At least 500 people are believed to have died in the earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.4, which hit 6am local time (0230 GMT) Tuesday.

It was centred near Zarand - 250km from Bam, the scene of a massive earthquake which killed 31,000 in 2003.

"We will do all we can to help the Iranian government," said Mr Straw.

"This is a terrible disaster to hit Iran and our thoughts and prayers are with the people in the area affected.

"Our sympathies go to the relatives of those who have tragically perished in this disaster."

Toll to rise

State-run television in Iran and the local governor's office in Kerman said more than 500 died as a result of the quake which lasted 11 seconds.

But the UK government said the latest reports from the relevant authorities in the country put the death toll at at least 190.

Casualties are expected to rise as rescue workers reach the province.

The United Nations says Iran is the worst-hit country in the world for earthquakes.

Seismologists say this is because it is at the confluence of three of the Earth's plates, which literally squeeze the country as they move.





SEE ALSO:
Hundreds killed in Iranian quake
22 Feb 05 |  Middle East
Survivors recall Iran quake loss
25 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Recovery brings social change to Bam
09 Aug 04 |  Middle East


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