A powerful earthquake centred on a border area of southeast Iran has killed at least 34 people and injured 80 others in neighbouring Pakistan, reports say.
The earthquake on Tuesday, measured at 7.8 magnitude and described as the strongest to hit Iran in more than half a century, shook buildings from the Gulf to South Asia.
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Al Jazeera’s correspondent Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from the Pakistani port city of Karachi, said despite the earthquake being centred in Iran, Pakistan had borne the brunt of the impact.
Residents of the Mashkail village in Washuk district, around 3km from the border with Iran, were particularly affected by the tremor, he said.
“The earthquake was so powerful that it was felt in the southern city of Karachi, even damaging a few buildings in the country’s commercial hub.”
At least 27 people were hurt in Iran as a result of Tuesday’s earthquake, according to a local governor speaking to the official IRNA news agency, but there was no immediate confirmation of any deaths.
An earlier report said up to 46 people had been killed in Iran, but an Iranian provincial governor told the ISNA agency later there had been no deaths.
“Fortunately, the earthquake resulted in no fatalities,” Hatam Narouyi, governor of Sistan-Baluchestan, said.
The deputy head of Iran’s state crisis management organisation, Morteza Akbarpour, told Fars news agency that casualties should be low considering the rural setting of the stricken area.
IRNA said crisis management authorities had declared a state of emergency in the area.
The head of Iran’s Red Crescent rescue corps, Mahmoud Mozafar, said communications to the stricken areas had been cut.
Felt across Gulf
The earthquake also shook buildings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, across the waters of the Gulf in the United Arab Emirates.
It was also felt in the Saudi capital Riyadh and in Oman.
In the tourist hub of Dubai, residential and office buildings were evacuated and thousands of people gathered outside skyscrapers.
The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8, and said it struck near the Iranian city of Khash, in Sistan-Baluchestan.
David Rothery, chair of the volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis course at Britain’s Open University, said “this morning’s earthquake in Iran was strong … but fortunately its source was quite deep”.
Last week, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake also hit Iran killing at least 37 people and injuring 850 more in the country’s southwest.
In December 2003, a big earthquake struck the southern city of Bam.
It killed 31,000 people – about a quarter of the population – and destroyed the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.