Thirty-seven people have been killed after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Bushehr in Iran. Around 850 people have been injured, according to Iranian media. The area is home to the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
At least 37 people had died so far and 850 were injured, including 100 who were hospitalized, Bushehr provincial governor Fereidoun Hasanvand told state TV.
"Based on the most recent figures on the impact of the earthquake," said deputy governor of Bushehr province, Shahpour Rostami, as quoted by Fars news agency.
Iran has announced a three day mourning period for those killed in the earthquake, according to Interfax.
The quake’s epicenter was 89 kilometers (55 miles) away from the nuclear plant, just outside the town of Kaki. Eighty to 100 per cent of the town’s homes have been destroyed, Itar-Tass reported.
The depth of the quake was 10 km (6.2miles). It was followed by 21 aftershocks within three hours. Twelve of those measured above 4 on the Richter scale.
"We could clearly feel the earthquake," a local resident told Reuters. "The windows and chandeliers all shook."
The villages of Shanbe and Sana have been heavily damaged, according to a Red Cross official. Reports on Twitter say that 23 villages have been affected in total.
More than 700 homes have been completely or partially destroyed, Mehr news agency reported. Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud brick, which can easily crumble in an earthquake.
The Bushehr nuclear plant, which is located just 11 miles southeast of the city, remains unaffected.
"The earthquake in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor, personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm," an official with Atomstroyexport, the Russian company which built the facility, told RIA Novosti.
The governor of the province has also confirmed that the plant is undamaged. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran told it that the earthquake caused no damage to the facility.
"Iran has informed (the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre) of the event, reporting that there has been no damage to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and no radioactive release from the installation," the agency said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.
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