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Schools And Offices Closed Around Tehran After A Moderate Earthquake

A moderate earthquake struck near Tehran late on December 20, sending panicked residents into the street but prompting no initial reports of casualties or significant damage, Iranian state media reported.

After a 4.9 magnitude earthquake forced people in Tehran to flee into streets, all educational institutions and many offices have been closed for Thursday.

Friday is the weekly off day, like Sunday, and schools, universities, offices and companies will be closed anyway.

Schools were closed since Sunday due to heavy smog and pollution, but the decision to keep them closed on Thursday is for safety reasons after the earthquake.

Iran’s Emergency Management Agency announced that in Tehran, Qom and Alborz provinces all centers of learning and many public services and other government offices will remain closed. Banks and health and public assistance services will continue to operate as normal.

Reports say that at least 97 people were injured, mostly during panicked escape from homes and buildings. One person died apparently died of a heart attack while induced by fear and panic.

There are no reports of visible damage from the tremor, which was centered west of Tehran and hit at 11:27 pm local time. U.S. Geological Survey estimated the quake to be 4.9 on the Richter scale. Iranian authorities initially said the quake measured 5.2.

People spending the night in the streets.
People spending the night in the streets.

Photos in social media show that many people slept in streets, parks and in their cars overnight for fear of more tremors.

A commander of traffic police in Tehran province told reporters, early on Thursday, many Tehran area residents are driving to northern parts of the country.

Iranian weekend starts on Thursday, and given the fear of earthquakes more people leave the city for northern resort towns.

Tehran and some other large cities have also been suffering from heavy smog and pollution in recent days.

Two powerful earthquakes have hit Iran in as many months; one in the west of the country, which killed hundreds of people and another less powerful quake in the southeast, near the city of Kerman.