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Updated: 10:51 AM EST
Iran Appeals for Help After Killer Quake
Estimated Death Toll of 20,000 Could Eventually Double, Rescuers Say
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, AP
BAM, Iran (Dec. 27) - Overwhelmed rescue crews picked through entire city blocks of rubble in search for survivors and bodies a day after an earthquake ruined this southeast Iranian city. With the death toll in the thousands, Iran appealed for international help and promised to waive visas for foreign relief workers.
The scope of the tragedy was so vast that a reliable death toll was impossible to pin down so soon after the magnitude 6.5 quake hit Bam early Friday. The Interior Ministry's early estimate on Saturday was 20,000 dead, while two leading rescue officials said the toll could eventually double.