The Qayen earthquake struck Northern Iran’s Khorasan Province on May 10,
1997. Centered on the village of Ardekul, around 270 kilometers
(170 mi) south of Mashhad, it was the largest in the area since 1990,
measuring 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale. Described as the deadliest
quake of 1997 by the US Geological Survey, it ravaged the
Birjand–Qayen region, killing 1,567 people and injuring more than
2,300. It damaged or destroyed over 15,000 homes, leaving
50,000 homeless, with a total estimated damage of $100 million. People
trapped under the debris were assisted by rescue teams. Around
155 aftershocks caused further destruction, and drove away survivors.
The earthquake was caused by a rupture along a fault that runs
underneath the Iran–Afghanistan border. Partly because of a
deterioration in the quality of buildings in rural areas, earthquake-
related incidents have killed around 1 in 3,000 Iranians since the start
of the 20th century. The devastation near the earthquake’s epicenter was
attributed to these poor construction practices, and led to a movement
for changes in building codes.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Byzantine–Ottoman wars: A heavily armed Greek force was
defeated in the Battle of Pelekanon.
More than 25 Australian Aborigines were massacred near
Inverell, New South Wales.
American physician Bob Smith had his last alcoholic drink,
marking the traditional founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Led by John Diefenbaker, the Progressive Conservative Party won
a plurality of the seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the federal
election, bringing an end to 22 years of Liberal Party rule.
War in Afghanistan: An airstrike by the United States resulted
in the deaths of eleven paramilitary troops of the Pakistan Army
Frontier Corps and eight Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
(government, politics) A parliament in which no single political party
has an outright majority.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the
need for illusion is deep.
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