TEHRAN, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Bad weather and an avalanche triggered by a powerful earthquake that rocked central Iran Tuesday has hampered rescue efforts in several villages.
Reports on fatalities differ, the governor of Kerman Province told state television that at least 420 people were dead and 900 were injured, however, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported 546 deaths, CNN reported.
Rescuers have yet to account for at least four villages and the death toll of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake is expected to rise.
The epicenter of the earthquake was the town of Zarand, 35 miles northwest of Kerman, the provincial capital.
The Iranian government declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.
The earthquake struck early in the morning, sending panicked residents pouring into the streets. Some roads already have been washed away by rain. Many villages whose homes were flattened had only relief blankets as protection from the rain.
The Iranian government has not appealed for any international aid or help.
Zarand is about 125 miles from Bam, where a 6.6 magnitude quake in December 2003 killed at least 26,000 people and injured another 30,000. Zarand is also 460 miles southeast of Tehran.