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Page last updated at 21:58 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 22:58 UK

Earthquake strikes southern Iran

Iranian state TV reports the earthquake on 10 September
Iranian state TV broke the news within minutes of the quake

A quake measuring 6.1 has struck near the south Iranian city of Bandar Abbas, killing seven people and injuring at least 40, Iranian state media report.

US monitors recorded it at 0630 (1100 GMT), at a depth of 15km (9.3 miles), 60km (35 miles) west of the city which is home to a major oil refinery.

Most casualties were reported on the Gulf island of Qeshm where a number of buildings collapsed.

Iran straddles a major geological fault line, making it prone to earth tremors.

Houses in this region have been built in recent years and are resistant to earthquakes
Abdolkarim Setareh
Bandar Abbas local official

Qeshm bore the brunt of the quake with all known deaths occurring there, said Abbas Hassani, head of Iran's medical emergencies centre.

The injured were being evacuated by boat to Bandar Abbas and five of them were in a serious condition, he told the Iranian news agency Isna.

Speaking on Iranian TV, a Red Crescent official said it was unlikely the quake had caused a high number of casualties.

Oil sites 'undamaged'

In Bandar Abbas, a city of some 350,000 people, the quake caused panic initially, sending people running into the streets for the safety of the city's open spaces, reports say.

Map

However, local officials were reporting only minor damage in surrounding villages.

"Houses in this region have been built in recent years and are resistant to earthquakes," city official Abdolkarim Setareh told the Associated Press by telephone.

Oil industry facilities in Bandar Abbas were not damaged by the quake, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, vice-president for investment affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, told Reuters news agency.

Across the Gulf, residents in Dubai and neighbouring emirates also felt the tremor, and office workers rushed out of some of the city's high-rise buildings.

"My bed was hitting against the wall," said Rheanne Anderson, a Canadian teacher living in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

"There was definitely some shaking."

The deadliest quake to hit Iran in recent years was in 2003, when 25,000 people died in a 6.7 quake in Bam.



SEE ALSO
Animated guide: Earthquakes
08 Sep 08 |  Science/Nature
Country profile: Iran
27 Aug 08 |  Country profiles

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