A powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck south-west Iran, 96km (60 miles) from the port city of Bushehr on Tuesday, 9 April at 4.22pm local time. The exact death toll is not yet clear but regional authorities say at least 37 people have been killed and as many as 850 injured. 120 of these required hospital treatment.
Some 10,000 people are thought to live in the affected area in more than 50 villages, two of which have reportedly been completely destroyed. Bushehr's governor says 700 houses have been damaged and 200 families affected. Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud brick, which can easily crumble in a quake.
The area affected by the earthquake is home to Iran's only nuclear power plant, but authorities say there is no danger and the plant was unaffected.
A resident in Kaki, the town closest to the epicenter said that people had run out into the streets in fear. The quake was felt as far away as Dubai, the UAE and Manama, the capital of Bahrain.
75 rescue and assessment teams from the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been deployed to the affected area to but darkness is hampering operations. Three helicopters were sent to survey the damaged area , said Mohammad Mozaffar, the head of the society's rescue department, in addition to 60 ambulances, ten rescue vehicles and four specialized emergency health and sanitation teams. The organization said immediate rescue operations had been completed and it was now focused on providing relief to the thousands of families affected.
The affected region is mountainous with low population density. Tribes and nomadic people may have been the most affected. Water and electricity have been cut to many residents, according to Shonbeh district authorities. So far there has been no request from the national Red Crescent society for international support.
Iran sits on major geological fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which flattened the southeastern city of Bam, killing more than 25,000 people. In August over 300 people were killed when two earthquakes struck the north west.
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