Strong quake kills three in Iran; tremors felt across Gulf (Second lead)

September 10th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran/Dubai, Sep 10 (IANS) At least three people were killed and 26 injured in a 6.1-magnitude quake that hit the southern coast of Iran and spread panic among people in neighbouring countries across the Gulf. The quake hit at around 3:40 p.m. and its epicentre was traced to Qeshm Island located few kilometres off the southern coast of Iran, opposite the port city of Bandar Abbas in Hormuzgan province, the official IRNA News agency reported, citing the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University.

All the dead were workers at jetty company in the port city, said Mohammad Saeed Mahmoudi, head of local Al-Zahra hospital.

All the injured people have been transferred to the hospital and condition of some was critical, Mahmoudi added.

In Qeshm Island, more than 100 buildings had collapsed and several people were said to be injured.

Yasser Hazbavi, head of the provincial natural disaster headquarters, was quoted as saying that rescue teams were at the site and all hospitals in the province were on alert.

While hoping that the death toll would not drastically increase, officials said more accurate reports would be announced within the next few hours after all quake-hit areas had been inspected by relief aid teams.

Iran’s Red Crescent Society has dispatched rescue teams equipped with sophisticated equipment to the region.

Iran is often shaken by quakes of varying magnitudes as it sits on some of the world’s most active seismic fault lines.

The earthquake was also felt across the Gulf in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where buildings were evacuated because of the tremors.

People in highrise buildings, especially on the arterial Sheikh Zayed road, in Dubai came out on the streets following the tremors.

“The whole office was swaying for about five minutes. No one knew what was happening. It was very scary,” an employee working on the 54th floor of Park Place on Sheikh Zayed Road told the Arabian Business magazine.

Some of the highest skyscrapers in the world are located in this west Asian metropolis.

Apart from Dubai, tremors were also felt in the neighbouring emirates of Sharjah and Ajman.

Meanwhile, an official at the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) in Abu Dhabi said it was common for tremors from earthquakes in Iran to be felt in the UAE.

“We will feel tremors from time to time, but people should not panic as there is nothing to worry about,” he said.

There was no immediate report of loss of life or damage to property.

The UAE is home to around 1.5 million expatriate Indians.

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