BEIRUT

Middle East

Strong Iran quake causes damage, injuries

PHOTO TAKEN TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2013

TEHRAN, Iran: A strong earthquake of 6.2 magnitude hit southern Iran early on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, with local media reporting of damaged villages and at least 20 people injured.

The epicentre of the quake was measured at 85 kilometres (52 miles) southeast of the southern town of Minab, located in the Hormuzgan province, at 0208 GMT , the USGS said. It was at a depth of 36.44 km (22.64 miles).

Iran's top quake rescue operations figure, Mahmoud Mozafar, said at least 20 people had been injured.

Mozafar, who heads Iran's Red Crescent rescue corps, was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying that rescue teams were dispatched to the remote area hit by the quake.

State television said six villages had been damaged.

Earlier, Hormuzgan governor Ebrahim Azizi told the television network that one of the injured was "not in a good condition and has been hospitalised".

Media reports said telephone connection to the quake-hit area, located in remote regions, had been cut.

Iran's Seismological Centre has registered a series of aftershocks, measuring between 4.1 and 5.2.

Iran sits astride several major fault lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes, some of which have been devastating.

Last month, the biggest earthquake to hit the country in 50 years, measuring 7.8 killed a woman and injured more than a dozen other people in the southeast.

At least 40 people were killed across the border in Pakistan where hundreds of mud homes were levelled.

Putting aside America's longstanding enmity with Iran and its more recent strains in relations with Pakistan, US Secretary of State John Kerry had offered condolences and assistance with relief work for last month's quake.

Also in April, another quake struck near Iran's Gulf port city of Bushehr, killing at least 30 people. The UN's atomic agency said there was no damage to Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

Iran's Russian-built nuclear power plant at Bushehr was not affected by the country's powerful earthquake and continues its operations as normal.

In August 2012, a double earthquake, one measuring 6.2 and the other 6.0, struck northwestern Iran, killing more than 300 people and injuring 3,000.

In December 2003, a massive quake struck the southern Iranian city of Bam. It killed 26,271 people -- about a quarter of the population -- and destroyed the city's ancient mud-built citadel.

Disaster relief contributed to an earlier thaw in relations between the United States and Iran, which -- then led by reformist president Mohammad Khatami -- accepted US personnel following the huge Bam earthquake.

 

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