Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has expressed condolences to the bereaved families of the victims of two powerful earthquakes that rocked northwestern Iran.
Ayatollah Khamenei urged the country’s officials and nation to make efforts to ease the pain of the quake-stricken people of Azerbaijan.
Twin earthquakes that devastated rural villages in northwest Iran on the weekend killed a total of 306 people -- most of them women and children -- and injured 3,037, Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi said on Monday.
Vahid Dastjerdi said that, of the 306 deaths, hospital morgues counted 219 women and children and 49 men. The discrepancy with the total appeared to come from the fact that some of those killed were buried by their families before officials arrived at the scene.
She also said that, of the 3,037 injured, most -- 2,011 -- were given first aid at the scene, while the remained were taken to hospitals for treatment. Some 700 surgeries were performed, she said.
Two earthquakes measuring 6.4 and 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale rumbled through northwest Iran on Saturday, leveling mud brick and concrete homes in villages to the northeast of the city of Tabriz.
A number of countries have offered their condolences to Iran over the disaster that hit the country.
Turkey, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States expressed sympathy with the Iranians over the quakes and offered help.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Pope Benedict XVI also voiced sympathies. The Swiss government also announced readiness to provide humanitarian aid to the quake-stricken people.