Strong earthquake kills 10 in southern Iran


At least 10 people died when an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 shook southern Iran this morning.

State television said the tremor struck at 11 a.m. Irish time, and was centred close to the Qeshm Island near Bandar Abbas city.

Heidar Alishvandi, the governor of Qeshm Island, was quoted by state-run television as saying that rescue teams were deployed to the affected areas. He said four villages were destroyed in the quake but people moved quickly to safety.

Iran's seismologic center said the epicenter was in the waters of the Persian Gulf between the port city of Bandar Abbas and Qeshm Island. The quake was felt in nearby Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Tehran's seismologic center said the quake measured magnitude-5.9. But the US Geological Survey said it was magnitude-6.1 and placed its epicenter about 36 miles southwest of Bandar Abbas.

A tremor was felt also in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, prompting many people to evacuate buildings.

Witnesses in high-rise buildings said they felt the ground shaking beneath them for about a minute. Many residents evacuated their buildings and waited on the streets.