Huge 7.8-magnitude earthquake hits near Iran-Pakistan border

Iran has been struck by its most powerful earthquake for nearly 40 years, with tremors felt across Pakistan, India and the Middle East.

Major earthquake strikes south-east Iran

The epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake was near the south-east city of Khash, close to the Pakistani border, the US Geological Survey said.

Offices were evacuated in Abu Dhabi and buildings swayed in Delhi, India.

Iranian state media said no deaths had been confirmed, despite an earlier TV report that at least 40 had died.

At least five people died in Pakistan near the border with Iran, hospital and local government officials said.

The earthquake struck in the province of Sistan Baluchistan at about 15:14 local time (10:44 GMT), close to the cities of Khash, with a population of nearly 180,000, and Saravan, with 250,000.

Iran’s Fars news agency was reporting that Saravan had suffered no serious damage.

All communications to the region have been cut. The Iranian Red Crescent said it was sending 20 search-and-rescue teams with three helicopters to the area.

The earthquake has been felt across the region. A BBC correspondent in Abu Dhabi said she was evacuated from her office.

Michael Stephens, a researcher at RUSI Qatar, told the BBC from his office in Doha: “I definitely felt the walls shaking. It lasted for about 25 seconds.”

Mohammad Wazir, a correspondent for BBC Persian in Pakistan, says the quake was felt in the cities of Karachi and Quetta.

It comes after a 6.3-magnitude quake in south-west Iran killed at least 37 people and wounded 850 on 10 April.

Iran’s most deadly recent earthquake was a 6.6-magnitude quake that destroyed much of the south-eastern city of Bam and killed some 26,000 people in 2003.

BBC

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