The earthquake developed 58km north-east of Kerman at 6.32 local time. Ten minutes later there was a second magnitude 5 shock. Over 800,000 people live in the area. At the moment there is no news of serious damage or casualties. Local sources: Many villages destroyed.
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning at 6:32 am local time a violent earthquake rocked the eastern part of Iran, near the town of Kerman, in a densely populated area.
According to experts from the US Geological Institute (USGS), the magnitude 6 shock (estimated at 6.3 at first) developed 58 km northeast of Kerman, south of the capital of Tehran, about 10 km deep. There are over 800,000 inhabitants in the area.
So far there is no reports of serious damage or deaths. However, rescuers and volunteers are scouring the most affected area for an initial toll. The strong intensity of the shock fears possible collapses and deaths.
Ten minutes after the first earthquake there was a second magnitude 5 shock.
Hossein Ali Mehrabizadeh, a crisis unit manager at Kerman, points out that "for the time being we have no news of dead, but destruction has occurred in many villages." His colleague M. Mehrabi, interviewed by the Iranian state television, added that teams of experts have been sent to the area affected by the earthquake to accelerate relief to the population.
Kerman's local administration has set up a crisis unit to coordinate Red Crescent and volunteer interventions.
This morning's earthquake comes just two weeks away from the devastating magnitude 7.3 earthquake which hit the area bordered by Iran and Iraq, causing more than 500 deaths in the western province of Kermanshah.
Iran is subject to frequent quakes and tremors because it sits on an area where two large tectonic plates converge. Today's earthquake occurred about 200km northwest of Bam, an ancient Persian town devastated by a strong earthquake in 2003, which caused at least 31,000 people.
In 1990 a magnitude 7.4 earthquake affected the north of the country killing 40,000 people, wounding 300,000 and leaving half a million homeless people. The quake reduced dozens of towns and at least 2,000 villages to rubble. The long list of deadly tremors continues with two more major events: an earthquake in 2005 that killed over 600 people and a second in 2012 that killed 300 people.