Homes flattened, Pakistan too bears brunt of Iran earthquake

  • Associated Press and PTI, Tehran/Islamabad
  • Updated: Apr 17, 2013 00:45 IST

A massive earthquake, described as the strongest to hit Iran in more than half a century, flattened homes and offices Tuesday near Iran's border with Pakistan, killing at least 34 people in Pakistan.

No casualties were reported from Iran.

Iran's Red Crescent said it was facing a "complicated emergency situation" in the area with villages scattered over desolate hills and valleys.

Iran's ISNA news agency and others described it as the strongest quake in more than 50 years.

It also was the second deadly quake to hit Iran in less than a week after a magnitude 6.1 temblor struck near Bushehr, on Iran's Persian Gulf coast, killing at least 37 people and raising calls for greater international safety inspectors at Iran's lone nuclear reactor nearby.

In Pakistan, at least 34 people were killed and about 150 injured when buildings collapsed in Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan during the earthquake that was felt across the region.

The deaths were recorded in the remote Panjgur and Kharan districts of Balochistan, TV news channels quoted officials as saying. Eight children and two women were among the dead.

The remote Mashkel area of Kharan district and Panjgur district were hit hardest by the high-intensity earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale.

Hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged in these areas, reports said. Barracks of the paramilitary Frontier Corps also collapsed in Panjgur, reports said.

In Karachi, several persons were injured when two buildings collapsed. The Pakistan Army launched rescue operations in the affected areas.

Medical teams were airlifted by army helicopters and tents and medicines had been dispatched to Balochistan, officials told the media.

Balochistan chief secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad said, "We have received reports about causalities and injuries in Mashkel area bordering Iran."

The quake rattled several parts of Pakistan, including Karachi, Hyderabad and Quetta cities.

The strongest tremors were felt in the southern and southwestern parts of the country.

The quake was also felt in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It shook buildings and forced high-rise offices to be evacuated in Abu Dhabi.

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