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Tehran Residents Warned To Be Prepared For Another Possible Quake


Iranians wearing masks spent the night in the streets after an earthquake hit near the capital Tehran on May 8, 2020

Iranian officials on Friday warned the residents of Tehran to be prepared for another possible earthquake after a shallow 5.1 magnitude tremor jolted the capital in the early hours of Friday.

The city of Tehran is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis in Iran and still under partial lockdown.

Morteza Salimi, Chief of Iran's Red Crescent Organization on Friday said the danger is not over yet and the residents of the capital should be on the alert. The quake was most strongly felt in Damavand area, about 60 km (40 miles) from the capital.

So far tens of aftershocks, the strongest measured 3.9 in magnitude, have jolted the city but officials have not reported new casualties, after two people died after the initial quake.

A young woman of twenty-one died of cardiac arrest and a sixty-year-old man also lost his life due to head injury while trying to flee. Many people in the region and in the capital spent Friday night outside in the streets, their cars and in parks for fear of a deadly aftershock. Residents of Tehran also flocked to gas stations to be prepared for fleeing the city in case of another quake.

People in Narmak district of Tehran fleeing their homes in the early hours of Friday after an earthquake jolted the city.

Also warning the residents of the capital to be prepared for another possible quake the Head of the Crisis Prediction and Management Organization of Tehran Municipality said no serious damages were reported in the capital as a result of last nights tremor because a quake of a magnitude of 5 is not likely to cause serious destruction.

Reza Karami warned that a quake of the magnitude of 6 will be felt 32 times more strongly than the one in the early hours of Friday while a quake of the magnitude of 7 can be 1,000 times stronger, making it super-destructive in the capital.

"Any quake stronger in magnitude than 6.5 will be disastrous in Tehran," Karami said. He also said all parks in Tehran will be open to the public throughout the night for the next 72 hours. Several stadiums that had been shut down due to the coronavirus lockdown have also opened their doors to the public.

A long queue formed on a road leading to a gas station in Tehran.

According to Karami for the first 72 hours after a possible destructive quake, the residents of the capital should help each other because rescue operations will take time and will not be possible immediately.

Officials say the military, hospitals, fire departments and other municipal organizations are on the alert. However, Karami said crisis management organizations in the capital are well-prepared only for situations where the strength of the tremors is below 6.

Tehran is built on tectonic plates and is prone to destructive earthquakes and experiences frequent seismic activity. Experts such as Professor Bahram Akasheh, the former head of the Geo-Physics Institute of Tehran University, have repeatedly warned about the destruction earthquakes can cause in the Iranian capital, a city of 8.7 million.

According to Professor Akasheh Tehran may be hit by quakes as strong as 7.5 to 8 in magnitude. A quake measuring 7.1 in magnitude on March 27, 1803 completely leveled Tehran and its surrounding settlements.

Iran's deadliest quake was a 7.4-magnitude tremor in 1990 that killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 others, and left half a million homeless in the country’s north.

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    Maryam Sinaiee

    Maryam Sinaiee is a British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National, who contributes to Radio Farda.

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