At least 40 are dead after a major earthquake struck Tuesday near the Iran-Pakistan border, Iranian state-run Press TV says.
An Iranian official told Reuters that hundreds more are feared dead. State-run Pakistan Television, meanwhile, said at least six people were killed on its side of the border and at least 47 others were injured. Up to 1,000 mud homes were damaged, it added.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the preliminary magnitude of the earthquake at 7.8 and at a depth of nine miles, and Iran’s seismological center said it was centered near Saravan, a sparsely populated area about 26 miles from the Pakistani border. Iranian state TV said power and communications systems were down in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan.
Iran’s Red Crescent said it was facing a “complicated emergency situation,” with villages scattered over desolate hills and valleys. A resident in the quake zone, Manouchehr Karimi, told The Associated Press by phone that “the quake period was long” and occurred “when many people were at home to take a midday nap.”
The quake struck less than a week after a magnitude-6.1 quake hit near Bushehr, on Iran’s Persian Gulf coast, killing at least 37 people and raising calls for greater international safety inspections at the country’s long energy-producing nuclear reactor.
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