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Strongest quake in 50 years shakes Gulf

UAE Official says no need to panic or pay heed to rumours

  • Residents gather outside their buildings in Al Muteena area in Sharjah.Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • People came out of their buildings at the National Paints area in Sharjah after the tremors were felt. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: A major earthquake centred on a border area of southeast Iran yesterday killed at least 35 people and destroyed hundreds of homes in neighbouring Pakistan, and shook buildings as far away as India and Gulf states.

Iran’s semi-official Isna news agency and others described the 7.8 magnitude quake as the strongest quake in more than 50 years. The US Geological Survey, in a revised bulletin, said the quake hit at 10:44 GMT (2.44 pm, UAE time) at a depth of 82km. The epicenter was 198km southeast of the city of Zahedan and 250km northwest of Turbat in Pakistan.

The tremors were felt in the UAE, parts of Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, where some buildings were evacuated.

UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said there were no injuries or causalities reported across the country and no damage was caused due to the earthquake, a spokesperson of the authority said.

“All authorities concerned are closely following the situation and all preparedness measures and plans are in place,” Dr Jamal Al Hosani of the authority said, advising residents not to panic nor listen to rumours.

Mohammad Al Hamaydeh, earthquake engineer and professor at the American University of Sharjah’s earthquake observatory, said, “the estimate in the level of shaking in the UAE [was] comparable to a 4.5 magnitude earthquake.”

While initial reports from Iran said at least 50 people were killed, a provincial governor said 27 people were injured and that there were no deaths there.

It comes a week after one struck near Iran’s Gulf port city of Bushehr which killed at least 37 people and injured 800.

In Pakistan, the quake brought down homes, killing at least 35 people and injuring 200 others, Saifur Rehman from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority in Quetta told DPA news agency. He said that they were trying to reach the worst hit areas of the Washuk district of Balochistan.

The quake was felt across northern India, including in the capital New Delhi. where tremors rattled buildings and led many office workers to run into the street.

Nuclear plants in Iran’s Bushehr, India’s Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan remained unaffected by the earthquake.

With additional inputs from agencies