One Dead, More Than 70 Injured After 4.2 Magnitude Quake Near Iran Capital Tehran

One person died of a heart attack and at least 75 people were slightly hurt when an earthquake of 4.2 magnitude shook in Iran’s Alborz Province, an area 50 km west of the Iranian capital Tehran, on Wednesday, the state news agency IRNA reported. No damage has been reported from the quake, which was also felt in the Qom province.

“Three people have been hospitalized. Emergency and firefighters were ready on site,” Director General of Alborz Cisi Management office Mahdi Mehrvar said.

Most of the injured were hurt while trying to run out of buildings and were released from hospital after treatment, IRNA quoted the country’s Emergency Medical Services as saying.

Frightened by the earthquake, people rushed out of their homes and many headed to safe places in their neighborhood. Some schools in western Tehran and Karaj reportedly closed and cancelled exams.

The quake is an aftershock of a 5.2 magnitude quake on Dec. 20 that killed two people. It was also felt in Tehran where many residents spent the night outside in cars, or in sport facilities and other buildings turned into rescue centers, local news agencies said.

Crisscrossed by several major geological fault lines, Iran is one of the world’s most quake-prone countries. Fourteen years after a deadly quake hit the city of Bam in the southeastern province of Kerman once again deep-seated fear of devastating quakes has gripped people all over the country.

The earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale struck the city at 5:26 a.m. local time on December 26, 2003. It is considered as one of the deadliest and most tragic quakes that has jolted Iran over the past 30 years as it claimed at least 26,000 lives. Some figures even suggest that the fatalities reach some 43,000.

The city, with a population of roughly 97,000, with one of the world’s most popular tourism attraction being its 2000-year-old mud-brick Bam Citadel was decimated within seconds and left many displaced and grieving over the untimely and unexpected death of their loved ones. Many Kermani people had two destinations: the city graveyard or the hospital.  Since then the anniversary of the severe quake is being observed as ‘safety and disaster risk reduction day’.

The recent tremor of Tehran, however small, have thrown many lives out of balance and made many worried sick about their indefinite future.  Regardless of the huge economic loss incurred by earthquakes the social impacts would most certainly last much longer and many families may never fully recover.