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Five dead in earthquake in eastern Iran: media reports
Magnitude 5.9 quake hits eastern Iran: USGS
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Wed Dec 5, 2012 3:20pm EST
LONDON (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring 5.5 in magnitude struck eastern Iran on Wednesday, killing five people and injuring 10 others, Iranian media reported, adding that the toll was expected to rise.
Iran's Fars news agency said people ran out of their houses after the quake struck the district of Zahan, causing walls and buildings to collapse and leaving people trapped under rubble.
Villages were hardest hit and emergency workers had reached some of them, Tehran's deputy emergency services director Mohammad Sarvar said in a report carried by Fars.
The toll so far was five killed and 10 injured but emergency services were expecting the number to rise, he added.
Fars news agency said the earthquake measured 5.6 in strength and struck at 2038 local time (1708 GMT).
Emergency teams were dispatched to the area around Zahan near the epicenter of the quake where there were reports of damage to houses, Fars said.
The USGS said the quake, which it initially recorded as magnitude 6.0, was very shallow at a depth of 3.3. miles. It located the epicenter as 48 miles north-northeast of Birjand, near the border with Afghanistan.
Iran is situated on major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which flattened the southeastern city of Bam and killed more than 25,000 people.
In August more than 300 people were killed when two quakes struck northwestern Iran.
(Editing by Michael Roddy)
Middle East Turmoil
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