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People wait outside after evacuating offices in Dubai Media City.

Quake hits Iran, tremors felt across Gulf, India

Tehran, April 16, 2013

A major earthquake centered on a border area of southeast Iran killed at least 13 people in neighboring Pakistan, destroyed hundreds of houses and shook buildings as far away as India and Gulf states on Tuesday.

The number of deaths in a powerful earthquake that hit Iran on Tuesday was "not high", an Iranian lawmaker from the region told the Mehr news agency.

"From what we have heard from people in the stricken areas, we have learned that the number of deaths is not high," Hamid Reza Pashang said.
"I have talked to the people of Zabul, Saravan, Khash and other areas hit by the earthquake and they have said, the earthquake was not of a kind to cause many deaths," he said.

It was not immediately clear how he had reached them, given reports of a breakdown in power and communication systems in the affected region that made information hard to verify.

Iranian state television earlier said at least 40 people were killed, but acknowledged there was no official confirmation

Pakistani officials said at least eight people were killed and 20 injured in the town of Mashkeel in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 10:44 GMT at a depth of 15.2 km. People in the city of Zahedan poured into the streets when the earthquake struck, Iran's Fars news agency reported.

All communications in the area have been cut, the Iranian Red Crescent's Mahmoud Mozaffar told state television. Rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected area, he said.

"In the aftermath of this earthquake five evaluation teams from the Khash and Saravan branches were sent to the area to assess damage," Mozaffar said.

The epicenter was in southeast Iran in an area of mountains and desert, 201 km southeast of Zahedan and 250 km northwest of Turbat in Pakistan, USGS said.

On April 9, a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake struck close to Iran's only nuclear power station, killing 37 people, injuring 850 and devastating two villages.

Most of Iran's nuclear-related facilities are located in central Iran or its west, including the Bushehr nuclear power plant on the Gulf coast. A U.S. Institute for Science and International Security map did not show any nuclear-linked facilities in southeastern Iran close to Pakistan.

Iran sits on major geological faultlines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 that flattened the city of Bam, in Iran's far southeast, killing more than 25,000 people.

This quake also shook tall buildings in India's capital New Delhi, sending people running into the streets, witnesses said. People also evacuated buildings in Qatar and Dubai, residents said.

"I was working and my work station was shaking," said Viidhu Sekhri, 35, an underwriter at a New Delhi insurance company. "Then it was a bit shaky so we just rushed outside."

Earlier in the day two smaller tremors were felt in India's Himalayan region close to the Chinese border.

An official at India's disaster management authority said the tremors felt in New Delhi and across northern India were because of the earthquake in Iran.-Reuters

Tags: Bahrain | Dubai | Iran | earth quake |

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