Baku, Azerbaijan, May 23
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
A possible earthquake of up to seven points on the Richter scale in Tehran could kill hundreds of thousands, Mohammad Shekarchizadeh, the head of Roads, Homes and Cities Construction Research Center of Iran, said.
Almost 200,000 buildings in the capital city are old and fragile, Shekarchizadeh said, Mehr news agency reported May 23.
Also, the old buildings are located in the narrow streets which make rescue operations difficult in case of a possible earthquake, the official said.
Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.
The worst quake hit Iran's city of Bam in Kerman province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people - about a quarter of its population - and destroying the city's ancient mud-built citadel.
The deadliest quake in the country was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. It caused major damages to 27 towns and about 1,870 villages.
In August 2012, two quakes in Northwestern Iran also claimed the lives of 306 people and injured more than 4500 others.