Magnitude 5.9 earthquake hits southern Iran, at least 2 injured

DUBAI (REUTERS) – A magnitude 5.9 earthquake on Sunday (April 18) struck Iran’s southern province of Bushehr, where a nuclear power plant is located, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or damage, state television reported.

The epicentre of the quake was the town of Rig and hospitals in nearby cities and provinces were on alert, with rescue teams and 50 ambulances sent to the area, a regional official told state TV.

Electricity, landline telephone and Internet in Gonaveh city had been cut off and “people are taking to the streets for fear of earthquakes”, semi-official news agency Tasnim reported.

An Iranian government official told Reuters there were no reports of damage at the Bushehr nuclear complex, situated on Iran’s Gulf coast.

The quake was centred 100km away from the plant and was relatively shallow – only 10km deep according to Iranian media – which would have amplified the shaking.

Iranian media reported nine aftershocks and posted pictures that showed collapsed mud brick walls in some villages.

Two people were injured in Gonaveh and were being taken to hospital, state media quoted the head of the Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Dr Saeed Kashmiri, as saying.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, the Islamic Republic is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam.

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