- A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Iran on Tuesday April 16, 2013, near the border with Pakistan on Tuesday.
A massive earthquake today has struck Iran, causing devastation across the country, in a tremor felt across the region in Pakistan, India and other areas of the Middle East.
Early reports suggest the 7.8 magnitude quake is the most powerful to hit the country for nearly 40 years, and hit near the south-east city of Khash, close to the Pakistani border, the US Geological Survey said.
The affects of the quake were felt hundreds of miles away and caused offices to be evacuated in Abu Dhabi, and buildings visibly swayed in Delhi in India.
Early reports from Iranian state media claimed that no deaths had occurred, although other earlier reports had claimed at least 40 people had been killed in one location.
Five people have been confirmed dead in Pakistan, near the border with Iran, according to government officials.
The quake reportedly struck in the province of Sistan Baluchistan at about 3.14 p.m. local time, close to the cities of Khash, with a population of nearly 180,000, and Saravan, with 250,000.
The Fars news agency in Iran was claiming that Saravan had suffered no serious damage despite the strong nature of the quake and all communications to the region seemingly being cut off.
- (Photo: Reuters/Athar Hussain)
At least 20 search and rescue teams from the Iranian Red Crescent have been deployed, and three helicopters have been sent to the area, according to the BBC.
One researcher at RUSI Qatar, Michael Stephens, told the BBC from his office in Doha: "I definitely felt the walls shaking. It lasted for about 25 seconds."
The latest quake in Iran comes following the 6.3 magnitude tremor that hit the country on April 10. That quake hit in the south-west of the country and killed at least 37 people, and injured nearly 900.
In 2003, Iran suffered a massive 6.6 quake which destroyed huge parts of the south-eastern city of Bam, killing more than 26,000 people. This new earthquake was reportedly much stronger than that 2003 quake.
Here is a video of an early report following the Iran earthquake today: