x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hits southern Iran

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck the Kerman province of southern Iran.

Iranian Red Crescent rescue workers search through rubble in the Iranian village of Chah Ghanbar after an earthquake.
Iranian Red Crescent rescue workers search through rubble in the Iranian village of Chah Ghanbar after an earthquake.

TEHRAN // An earthquake of 6.5 magnitude jolted southeastern Iran on Monday, Iranian state television reported, but a local official said there were no initial reports of casualties.

"The quake took place at 2212 local time (1842 GMT) in the Kerman province ... the quake was felt in many cities," state television reported.

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.

The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.3 and said it was 12.3 km deep. An official in the governor's office of Kerman province said there were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

"There was no damage in the city of Bam but we felt the quake," Ali Reza, who lives in the city, said.

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 Bandar Abbas, on the mainland near the southern Qeshm island, killing at least seven people and injuring 40.