Earthquakes and aftershocks hit western Iran, flattening villages and causing huge damage. At least 70 people were dead, 1,200 wounded, and thousands homeless.
The death toll would have been much higher, residents said, but police used loudspeakers to order the people to sleep outside after a 4.7-magnitude quake struck Thursday evening.
Hours later, a 5.1-magnitude quake struck Boroujerd and Doroud, the Iranian Seismological Center said, followed by a 6.1-magnitude quake just before 5 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Society. Aftershocks continued throughout Friday.
A total of 70 bodies had been recovered from houses destroyed in Silakhor, a region north of Doroud, state-owned television reported.
The provincial head of the Unexpected Disaster Committee, Ali Barani, said no fewer than 200 villages were damaged, and some were flattened.
US President Bush offered assistance to Iran. "We, obviously, have our differences with the Iranian government, but we do care about the suffering of Iranian people," Bush said at a news conference, according to the AP. However, Iran's Deputy Minister of Health, Medicare, and Medical Training Ali Salmani said "We face no shortage in offering medical services to the quake victims right now."
According to IRNA, relief aid, including 1,700 tents, 5,000 blankets, 200 moquetts, 16,500 canned food, 4,000 bottles of mineral water, 850 heaters and 500 dishes have been rushed to the survivors.