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Updated at 9:45 am on 13 August 2012
Overcrowded hospitals in Iran are struggling to cope with thousands of victims as rescuers try to reach remote villages after two powerful earthquakes killed 227 people.
Interior minister Moustafa Mohammad-Najjar says nearly 1400 people have been injured but further rescue activities are unnecessary because the rubble left by the quakes hides no more survivors.
Thousands are huddling in makeshift camps or sleeping in the open for fear of more aftershocks.
There have been at least 60 since the twin quakes, measuring 6.4 and 6.3, hit East Azerbaijan province in the north-west of the country within minutes of each other on Saturday afternoon, local time. The US Geological Survey says the first was at 4.54pm and the second 11 minutes later.
Mr Mohammad-Najjar says relief operations have been stepped up in shattered villages. About half of the 600 villages located in the disaster zone, near the city of Tabriz, have been damaged.
Iranian media say the worst damage and most casualties appear to have been in settlements around the towns of Ahar, Varzaghan and Harees. Many are hard to reach by road, hindering rescue efforts.
There are reports that in some areas many of the victims were women, who had been inside homes preparing evening meals to break the Ramadan fast.
Iran's Red Crescent says it has distributed thousands of tents and supplies of food and water and put up 4000 emergency shelters in a sporting stadium.
It says it has turned down offers of help from Turkey, Taiwan, Singapore and Germany because Iran is able to cope with the disaster by itself.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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