Latest update: 21/12/2010
- earthquakes - Iran
Southern Iran struck by 6.5-magnitude quake
A 6.5-magnitude earthquake killed several people in southern Iran on Monday, early reports said. The tremor struck quake-prone Kerman province, where 31,000 people were killed when an earthquake destroyed the city of Bam in 2003.
By News Wires (text)
REUTERS - An earthquake jolted southeastern Iran on Monday, killing several people according to initial reports and damaging buildings in outlying mountainous areas, state media said.
"Rescue teams have been dispatched to the quake-hit area ... and are communicating via walkie-talkies," Hossein Baqeri, head of Iran's National Crisis Management unit, told state television.
Mohammad Javad Kamyab, an employee of Kerman province governor's office, told Reuters there were 30 villages in the quake-hit area.
"These villages are not highly populated...We are not expecting a high death toll and so far 25 people have been injured," he said.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.3. The official IRNA news agency said four mild quakes hit the same area in an past hour.
"In some ... villages in mountains several people have been killed reportedly," state television quoted a local official in Kerman province, where the quake was centred, as saying. "But we have no specific figures yet...Access to these villages is very difficult."
The semi-official Fars news agency said the quake was also felt in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Many people left their houses in the city of Zahedan ... It was also felt in the towns of Bam, Khash and Iranshahr," Fars reported.
Ali Reza, a resident of Bam, told Reuters by telephone: "There was no damage in the city of Bam but we felt the quake."
The province of Kerman is highly prone to earthquakes. Some 31,000 people were killed when an earthquake razed Bam in 2003.
Kerman is not one of the oil-producing regions of Iran, the world's fourth-biggest crude exporter. Iran is criss-crossed by major faultlines and is frequently hit by earthquakes.
In 2008 a magnitude 6.1 quake struck the southern port of Bandar Abbas, killing at least seven people and injuring 40.
An official in the governor's office of Kerman province told Reuters by telephone: "The quake-hit area is a deserted area."
Esmail Najjar, governor of the Kerman province, said some people had been injured, state television reported. Telephone lines had been cut.
State television, quoting an unnamed local Red Crescent official, said: "In some rural parts of the region ... the quake has caused heavy damage to buildings, especially in Hosseinabad village, where the houses were made of earthen bricks."