Shahbanou Farah visits earthquake victims of the Tabas Tragedy. (circa 1978)
On September 16, 1978, a huge earthquake struck, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. The death toll was around 26000[ and the worst damage was to the town Tabas, which was at the epicentre of the quake and completely flattened. 40 villages within a 30 mile radius were damaged. Around 15,000 population were killed, leaving only 4,000 living in the town. All the town’s doctors were reported to have died, leaving civilians to treat others. All water and electricity was cut from Tabas, along with phone lines. The nearest accessible place to gain water was the town of Ferdows, a three hour drive away. The earthquake lasted around three minutes, making it extremely dangerous. Compared to the normal 10 – 20 seconds that a normal earthquake lasts for, the power of this earthquake is shown. It struck at 19:38 local time. After the quake, there was lots of disease from dead bodies as so many bodies were not buried in a cemetery but buried where they were found.
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