- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

TEHRAN — An earthquake measuring at least magnitude 5.9 shook southern Iran yesterday, killing 10 persons and flattening at least four villages, officials said. The temblor was felt as far away as Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Heidar Alishvandi, the governor of Qeshm, was quoted by state-run television as saying rescue teams were deployed to the affected areas, which included four destroyed villages. He said people in those villages moved quickly to safely.

Another provincial official, Ghasem Karami, told the Associated Press that high casualties were not expected because the area is sparsely populated.

Tehran’s seismologic center said the quake measured magnitude 5.9, but the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Golden, Colo., said it was a magnitude-6.1 temblor. A magnitude-6.0 quake can cause severe damage.

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 USGS said the quake was located 35 miles southwest of Bandar Abbas.

Masoud Dalman, head of Hormozgan province’s emergency affairs, said several buildings on Qeshm Island were damaged. The island, which has about 200,000 residents, is about 940 miles south of Tehran, the capital.

Shahram Alamdari, head of the rescue unit for the Iranian Red Crescent, said two helicopters were evacuating the injured from Qeshm to Bandar Abbas, a city of 500,000 people that also was jolted by the quake.

In Oman and the United Arab Emirates, buildings were evacuated and people fled into the streets.

“Power and water supplies were not affected,” said Alireza Khorshidzadeh, a local journalist. “People poured into the streets, fearing aftershocks.”

In Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the UAE, buildings were evacuated as people scrambled for safety.

“It lasted around 30 seconds or so — you could feel the building moving and the coffee cups shaking,” said public relations executive Bina Mathews.

Several buildings along Dubai’s Sheik Zayed Road, the skyscraper-lined central business district, were evacuated. They included the twin Emirates Towers, the highest buildings on the street, where many international corporations and Dubai government institutions have offices.

Iran is located on a number of seismic fault lines and, on average, experiences at least one slight quake every day.

The last major quake to hit southern Iran was in February, when a magnitude-6.4 temblor rocked Zarand, a town of about 15,000 people in Kerman province, about 600 miles southeast of Tehran. It killed 612 persons and injured more than 1,400.

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