World / Middle East

8 killed in eastern Iran earthquake

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-06 04:43

TEHRAN - At least 8 people were killed after a 5.5-magnitude quake hit Zahan city in eastern Iran's South Khorasan Province at 20:38 pm local time (1708 GMT) on Wednesday, the state TV reported.

One child disappeared and some 12 people were injured, Mohammad-Ali Akhoundi, the emergency chief of South Khorasan Province, was quoted by semi-official Mehr news agency as saying.

The epicenter, with a depth of 9 km, was at 33.50 degrees north latitude and 59.54 degrees east longitude, according to Iranian Seismological Center.

Earlier, Mehr reported that telecommunications were disrupted in the quake-hit region and local officials were trying to fix the problem. People whose houses had been damaged were in need of heating equipment due to the cold weather.

Two villages in Zahan have been damaged completely, semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Iran sits astride several major fault-lines in the earth crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes. Moderate quakes sometimes cause huge damages in some regions due to poor construction.

On August 11, a 6.2-magnitude tremor hit Ahar and Varzaqan cities in East Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran and left over 300 killed and some 4,500 injured.

The deadliest earthquake to hit Iran in recent years happened on December 26, 2003, when a 6.6-magnitude quake struck Bam city and the surrounding areas in Kerman province. The earthquake left more than 26,000 people dead and some 30,000 injured.

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