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Monday November 20th, 2017 3:57PM

The Latest: Iran's Rouhani seeks probe in quake-hit area

By The Associated Press
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on developments from an earthquake in the border region of Iran and Iraq (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says his administration will probe the cause of so much damage to buildings constructed under a state-owned program in the quake-stricken area along the border with Iraq.

The official IRNA news agency says Rouhani made the remarks while touring the quake-hit Iranian Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab on Tuesday.

According to the report, Rouhani said that "the faults and shortcomings in the construction of these buildings should be investigated"

He pledged the "government will definitely follow up on these issues and identify the culprits."

Many of the damaged buildings were built during former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration, though some of them were completed and handed over to the residents under Rouhani.

Under the plan dubbed Mehr, or "kindness" in Farsi, some 2 million units were built in Iran, including hundreds in Sarpol-e Zahab. Many warned that the low-quality construction could be problematic.

___

10:45 a.m.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is promising to rebuild the country's earthquake-devastated area in the "shortest" timespan possible.

Rouhani, who was visiting the area Tuesday, said his administration plans to support reconstruction with both handouts and loans.

He says he appreciates foreign countries for expressing sympathy with victims of Sunday's temblor, which measured magnitude 7.3. The quake killed hundreds and injured thousands in the border region of Iran and Iraq.

Authorities say the quake destroyed more than 12,000 homes and local reports say many people are still in need of tents and blankets.

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. In 2012, a major casualty earthquake killed over 300.

___

9 a.m.

Rescuers are digging through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq.

The work is taking place two days after a magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Sunday night Iran time, just as people were going to bed.

The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries.

Residents fled without time to grab their possessions as apartment complexes collapsed into rubble. Outside walls of some buildings were sheared off, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted.

Residents on Monday dug frantically through wrecked buildings for survivors.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
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