Iran has been struck by its most powerful earthquake for more than 50 years, with tremors felt across Pakistan, India and the Middle East. The epicentre of the 7.8-magnitude quake was near the south-eastern city of Khash, close to Pakistan. The quake struck deep and in a remote region, apparently limiting casualties. However, more than 30 people were killed in Pakistan.
The Pakistani military has been mobilised to help with rescue efforts, officials said. Two military helicopters carrying medical teams have been sent to the area and troops will support the relief efforts, they said. The border area has since been shaken by several strong aftershocks.
The earthquake struck in the province of Sistan Baluchistan at about 15:14 local time (10:44 GMT), close to the cities of Khash, which has a population of nearly 180,000, and Saravan, where 250,000 people live. The power of the tremor led to offices being evacuated in Karachi, Pakistan, in the Indian capital of Delhi, and in several Gulf cities.
‘180 times stronger’
Iran’s Fars news agency said the depth of the quake had reduced its impact to the size of a magnitude-4.0 tremor on the surface. Iranian scientists said it was the country’s strongest earthquake for more than 50 years. All communications to the region have been cut, and the Red Crescent said it was sending 20 search-and-rescue teams with three helicopters to the area.
Mohammad Wazir, a correspondent for BBC Persian in Pakistan, says the quake was felt in the cities of Karachi and Quetta. Tuesday’s earthquake was about 180 times stronger in energy release than a 6.3-magnitude quake that struck on 10 April near the nuclear plant at Bushehr in south-western Iran. That quake killed at least 37 people and wounded 850.
Scientists say earthquakes in south-eastern Iran are triggered by the clash between the Arabia and Eurasia tectonic plates, the former of which is pushing north at a rate of several centimetres each year.
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Source: BBC News
Image: National Post