Red Crescent calls second quake in two weeks ‘complicated emergency situation’; 7.8 magnitude tremor reaches the Gulf, India, and Pakistan
Times of Israel A major earthquake described as the strongest to hit Iran in more than half a century flattened homes and offices Tuesday on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border, killing at least 46 people in the sparsely populated region and swaying skyscrapers and buildings as far away as New Delhi. Iran’s Red Crescent said it was facing a “complicated emergency situation” in the area with villages scattered over desolate hills and valleys. Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency described the quake, whose magnitude measured at least 7.7, as the strongest one in more than 50 years. The country’s state-run Press TV called it a “massive quake.” The quake was 9 miles (15 kilometers) deep, according to the US Geological Survey USGS. Across the Gulf, high-rise buildings swayed and officials ordered evacuations. Dubai has the world’s tallest tower, the 2,717 -foot (828-meter) Burj Khalifa. On April 9, a 6.1 quake hit near the Bushehr nuclear plant, killing 37 people. Iran said there was no damage to the reactor and insists it was built to withstand far stronger quakes. Earlier this week, the head of the Gulf states’ main political bloc urged Iran to join an international accord on nuclear safety following the earthquake near the country’s lone energy-producing reactor. Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, opened a meeting Sunday in Riyadh to discuss nuclear safety issues after the quake about 96 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Bushehr. Al-Zayani urged Iran to join the UN’s Convention on Nuclear Safety, which allows greater review by the UN’s atomic watchdog agency. Iran says it is part of other UN pacts to report any nuclear accidents.