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Strong Quake Hits Near Iran-Pakistan Border


People evacuate buildings and gather on road after an earthquake was felt in Karachi, Pakistan, April 16, 2013.
A major earthquake has struck the Iran-Pakistan border area, sending shock waves through the region for hundreds of kilometers around.

Pakistan media reported at least five deaths in that country while Iranian media retracted first reports of at least 40 deaths in Iran.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the quake's magnitude at 7.8, with an epicenter near the Iranian cities of Khash and Saravan in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

Iranian state media reported a lower magnitude of 7.5 for Tuesday's quake, which struck at 3:14 p.m. Iran time ((06:44 UTC)).

Pakistani authorities said five fatalities occurred in the province of Balochistan, bordering Iran.

People evacuate buildings and gather on road after an earthquake was felt in Karachi, Pakistan, April 16, 2013.
People evacuate buildings and gather on road after an earthquake was felt in Karachi, Pakistan, April 16, 2013.
The quake was powerful enough to shake the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Karachi, hundreds of kilometers away.

A British woman working in Karachi told VOA the Pakistani commercial capital was not badly affected.

"We were in a room and I was talking to somebody and he suddenly said what is that? And then I realized his chair was shaking, and then everybody started leaving the building, we all went outside. The cars were all shaking, it must have lasted, oh I think about a minute, until the cars stopped shaking," said Rachel Wright. "And we stood out and waited because obviously there was some concern that there might be a bigger earthquake afterwards. But as far as I could see there was no damage here, everybody is quite used to these kind of drills, and everyone evacuated safely, waited for a couple of minutes then we all went back inside."

Iraq is prone to frequent earthquakes as it sits on several major fault lines. Last Tuesday, April 9, a quake with a magnitude of about 6 hit southwestern Iran near the city of Bushehr, killing at least 37 people.
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