Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said he was deeply saddened by the loss of hundreds of lives and the destruction caused by the earthquakes that struck northwestern Iran on Saturday afternoon.
“[Mr. Ban] extends his sincere condolences to the Iranian Government and people, particularly the families of those who have been killed or otherwise affected in this disaster,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.
According to media reports, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area 60 kilometres northeast of the city of Tabriz yesterday around 4:53 pm. Another earthquake followed just eleven minutes later near Varzaghan, located 49 kilometres northeast of the city.
The earthquakes reportedly left at least 250 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, causing damage to more than 100 villages. While relief operations are underway, they have reportedly been made difficult by the dozens of aftershocks that followed the two earthquakes.
“The United Nations stands ready to lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs created by the disaster and to mobilize international support for that response,” the statement said.