Hundreds feared dead in Iran quake
(4th UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines - A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan close to the Pakistan border on Tuesday, April 16, at about 3:44 pm Iran time according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Iran's government-run media, Press TV initially estimated 40 killed, but Iranian officials fear hundreds more could be dead.
It also shook buildings and forced high-rise offices to be evacuated in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, as well as across northern India, including the capital New Delhi where tremors rattled buildings and caused office-workers to run into the streets.
The head of Iran's Red Crescent rescue corps, Mahmoud Mozafar, told ISNA news agency that evacuation teams were dispatched to the affected area.
Iran's official IRNA news agency said crisis management authorities had declared a state of emergency in the quake-hit area.
"The quake is unprecedented in 56 years" for Iran, Mehdi Zare, an official at the Seismological Centre, told state television without elaborating.
The quake also shook large parts of Pakistan including Islamabad, where buildings swayed, and the largest city Karachi, where tremors also prompted many to flee buildings in terror.
The earthquake was not felt in the Iranian capital Tehran, however.
No major damage was reported in Saravan, 81 kilometers north of the epicenter. The USGS report said the depth of the earthquake was 15.2 km.
Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant was undamaged said a spokesman for the Russian state nuclear corporation.
The Bushehr nuclear power plant on the Gulf is located some 950 kilomtres (590 miles) west of Khash, a town near the epicentre of what Iran said was a 7.5 magnitude quake.
"A representative at the site said they did not even feel the tremors," Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov told AFP.
Just a week ago on April 9, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the port city of Bushehrhit, killing 37.
5 dead in Pakistan
Meanwhile, at least 5 were killed in a remote community Pakistan, according to hospital officials.
"We have received five dead bodies," Ashraf Baloch told AFP by telephone from Mashkail in Washuk district, around three kilometres (1.8 miles) inside Pakistan from the Iranian border.
"The relatives of the dead told us that 25 people have been injured. We have also received some injured people," he added.
Most of the victims were hurt because houses caved in, Baloch said.
Mashkail is around 600 kilometres (400 miles) southwest of Quetta, the main town of insurgency hit Baluchistan province, which borders Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province. - with reports from Agence-France Presse