x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

11 killed as earthquake jolts south-eastern Iran

The 6.5-magnitude tremor was followed by 30 aftershocks, which damaged or destroyed two dozen villages and injured hundreds of people.

TEHRAN // A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck south-eastern Iran, wrecking villages, bringing down power lines, killing at least 11 people and injuring hundreds, Iranian media reported yesterday.

Monday's quake, with its epicentre near the town of Hosseinabad in Kerman province, was followed by more than 30 further tremors, including one of 5.0 magnitude, the Mehr news agency said, quoting the geophysics department of Tehran university.

State media reported that mild tremors continued into yesterday near the epicentre. "So far damage has been concentrated in villages in the areas of Sahraj, and seven dead and hundreds of injured have been pulled from the debris," Mehr quoted the Kerman governor, Esmail Najjar, as saying.

"Considering the damage, the death toll is expected to rise," he added. Other Iranian media gave slightly different casualty tolls. The state television website quoted the head of Iran's emergency medical services, Gholam Reza Masoumi, as saying that four people had died.

The deputy governor of Kerman province, Javad Kamali, told state television that five people had died and that the death toll could rise.

"Around 30 villages are still cut off as they are in a mountainous region. Our helicopters have been despatched since early morning and we will get a fuller assessment later in the day," Mr Kamali said.

The quake struck at 10.12pm on Monday and was felt as far away as the neighbouring province of Sistan-Baluchestan on the Pakistan border. State media reports said the earthquake brought down communication and power lines, and wrecked villages around the epicentre of Hosseinabad, many of which consist of mud-brick homes.

Twenty-four villages were partially or completely destroyed, the reports said, adding that members of the Basij militia had been deployed to help the victims.

* Dow Jones