Iranian television has reported a powerful earthquake has struck close to the Pakistani border.
Communications with the affected region had been cut and for a while there were mixed reports of the number of deaths, with numbers ranging from no mortalities to at least 40. Hatam Narouyi, governor of Sistan and Iran’s Baluchistan province, has since told the ISNA agency, “The earthquake resulted in no fatalities.”
In Pakistan tremors from the quake caused the deaths of at least 13 people said officials. Among them were three women and two children, who were killed when their house collapsed.
Morteza Moradipour an Iranian Red Crescent official said emergency crews, including dog teams, had searched through the debris. “Because of the strength of the earthquake we had expected to see significant damage in residential areas but the quake was at a depth of 95 km and therefore the extent of the damage was on par with earthquakes measuring magnitude 4,” he said.
According to the US Geological Survey the epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake was near the south-east city of Khash, close to the Pakistani border. It is thought to be the strongest to strike Iran in 40 years.
In Dubai images caught the moment the tremors hit. Buildings were evacuated while in India’s capital New Delhi people ran into the streets in fear as tall buildings there began to shake.
It is the second earthquake in seven days to strike Iran which sits on major geological fault lines. The last struck close to Iran’s only nuclear plant but the facility was left undamaged.
Ali Vaez from the International Crisis Group think-tank told Reuters, “The recent tremors are ominous reminders of how earthquake prone Iran’s terrain truly is and how critical it is for the Iranian government to be prepared for a nuclear emergency.”