Iran's Coroners Office announced Sunday that the death toll of Saturday's twin quakes in northwest of the country has approximately reached 250 to 300 at the time expert teams were dispatched to the quake-stricken areas in the East Azarbaijan Province in northwestern Iran, according to Iran's state agency IRNA.
It added that the teams were searching for further victims of the strong earthquakes which rocked provincial cities of Ahar, Varzaqan and Haris Saturday afternoon, but rescue operations ended as of Sunday.
About 1,380 were injured in the disaster.
"Search and rescue operations have ended and we are now working to ensure survivors' needs in terms of shelter and food," Interior Minister Moustafa Mohammad-Najjar told state television.
The quakes were, respectively, measured 6.2 and 6.0 on Richter scale followed by 55 aftershocks, the strongest of which was measured 4.8 Richter.
While the biggest city in the region, Tabriz, and nearby towns escaped with only relatively minor damage, scores of outlying villages made of more flimsy mud and concrete bricks were decimated.
Mohammad-Najjar said around half the 600 villages located in the zone were damaged or destroyed. He said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had given orders on Sunday for home reconstruction to begin immediately because of the harsh winter the region will experience at the end of the year. An estimated 16,000 people were left homeless by the quakes.