Iran's interior ministry has sharply revised down the death toll in Saturday's earthquake to 230, against an earlier official toll of 500.
"The earthquake caused 227 deaths in the Qazvin region and three in Hamedan, and around 1,000 injured in total", state television quoted a ministry statement as saying on Sunday.
The quake, registering 6.0 on the Richter scale, struck northeast Iran early Saturday, devastating more than 50 towns and villages, including the city of Bouynzahra in Qazvin province, and leaving thousands homeless.
Only a few hours afterwards the Red Crescent organization and official media were giving a death toll of 500 with some 2,000 injured, AFP reported.
A Red Crescent official in Qazvin province later said 212 bodies had been dug out of the rubble and buried.
Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush, who said he was saddened by news of the earthquake, offered humanitarian aid to Iran.
"Human suffering no political boundaries," Bush said in a statement. "We stand ready to assist the people of Iran as needed and as desired."
For his part, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has offered condolences to Iran for the loss of life and widespread damage wrought by the earthquake.
"The Secretary General is deeply saddened by the important loss of lives and the extensive damage that resulted from the disaster. He wishes to convey his condolences and deepest sympathy to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to the victims of the disaster," a statement from the international body read. (Albawaba.com)
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