Iranian earthquake: At least 380 dead

A &to=http://' target=_blank>powerful earthquake flattened villages and collapsed mud-brick homes in the mountains of central Iran on Tuesday, killing at least 380 people and injuring hundreds.

In a cold rain, survivors dug frantically through slabs of concrete and piles of dirt, searching for loved ones buried under the rubble of destroyed homes. Iranian television showed survivors slapping their faces in grief as they sat beside dead relatives wrapped in blankets.

Mohammad Javad Fadaei, deputy provincial governor of Kerman, told The Associated Press that 380 people were dead and 664 were hospitalized with injuries, reports San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the Voice of America, the powerful quake, registering 6.4 on the Richter scale, ravaged dozens of villages not far from where a December 2003 earthquake killed as many as 30,000 Iranians and destroyed the ancient &to=http://' target=_blank>city of Bam. Officials in Iran say they expect the death toll to rise because many villages were completely flattened.

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