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Iran: At least 8 killed in powerful quake in Persian Gulf island of Qeshm

Qeshm, Hormuzgan prov, Nov 27, IRNA-At least eight people were killed and tens of others wounded in a strong earthquake which hit the biggest island in the Persian Gulf.

The magnitude-5.9 quake, according to initial estimates by Iran's seismological bases, hit at 13:53 hours (10:23 GMT), destroying several villages.

Confusion emerged as Tehran University's Geophysics Institute scaled down the intensity of the tremor to 4.1 later.

The quake's epicenter was reported to be the village of Ziranag which was more than 80 percent destroyed, according to an IRNA reporter.

Serious destruction was also reported in the nearby Deyrestan while the villages of Tonban and Goursin were all but demolished.

The earthquake also caused damages in the villages of Gourzin, Kousheh, Karvan, Gourian and Khaledin.

An IRNA reporter said that the only hospital in the Qeshm city was full of injured people, but there was a shortage of medical facilities.

Local officials met at the governor's office to set up an emergency task force to rush relief to the victims, apparently anticipating a bigger fallout.

Relief workers, including volunteer Basij and police forces as well as revolutionary guards, were on the ground to provide assistance to victims.

The quake shattered windows of some buildings, causing residents in the city of Qeshm to run out in panic and take refuge in open fields.

At least four major aftershocks, ranging between 3.6 and 4.3, have since rocked the affected regions, according to Tehran University's seismological bases.

Qeshm, a 1,500-square-kilometer island off the coast southwest of Bandar Abbas and 1,500 kilometers south of Tehran, has a population of more than 100,000.

... Payvand News - 11/27/05 ... --

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