The 971 Report

Tremors felt in UAE, Qatar as earthquake hits Iran

Residents in the UAE, Qatar and other Gulf nations reported tremors on Tuesday, as a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Iran.

The earthquake struck just before 4pm UAE time, 66 miles southeast of the city of Bushehr in Iran, where the country's only nuclear power station is based, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

At least 32 people have been killed in Iran following the incident, media reported.

The Iranian Seismological Centre at the University of Tehran said the quake's epicentre was Kaki and the USGS said the quake struck at 1152 GMT at a depth of 10 km.

TREMORS AROUND GULF

Residents in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain reported tremors.

The UAE's National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology confirmed the event, telling website Emirates 24/7: “An earthquake has struck South of Iran measuring 6.2. The tremors were felt in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of its epicentre.”

The spokesperson added: "The earthquake struck at 3.52pm UAE time, with its epicentre in Shiraz located 500km from Abu Dhabi. The extent to which UAE residents felt the tremors was 4.0 in magnitude."

EVACUATIONS

Nearby in Doha, Qatar, buildings were evacuated due to the after-shocks.

Rami Mansour, a Doha resident who works in the Musherieb area, told Yahoo! Maktoob: "We were just sitting in the office and the whole floor was shaking for about five seconds or something. I thought my colleague was shaking the table."

Residents evacuate a building in Doha's Musherieb area. Photo courtesy: Rami Mansour.

Mansour said people in his office started to panic slightly and those on higher floors came down. However, his building was not evacuated as it is only three floors.

"They are evacuating people from the areas with high-rise buildings. My wife works in Al Sadd area in a building on the 17th floor and she said the whole building was shaking," he added.

"It was just out of precaution," he said of the evacuations.

MOMENTS OF PANIC

Similar incidents were reported in the UAE, where residents also felt slight tremors.

One resident, Syed S, a management consultant who works in the downtown DIFC area, said: "We just for a second thought we were feeling dizzy and the building was moving left to right, but when we looked outside, it was swaying slightly."

However, Syed S said it was over in seconds.

"Some people rushed out of their offices and we saw water bottles shaking but nothing more," he said.

Yahoo! Maktoob reader Emmanuel Joshua who works in the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, also felt the quake.

"We are on the 139 floor of Burj Khalifa, the tallest office in world was shook! [sic] 7 of us felt dizzy whilst the hanging lamps where [sic] dancing! Strange!" he commented, adding that rescue operators in the building weren't aware of the quake. 

Others in Abu Dhabi also sent out messages on twitter reporting the incident.

Resident Sherif Salem tweeted: "minor tremor in #Abu Dhabi just now," but not everyone felt it as reader Donald commented: "Yes I felt it around 4:00PM Abu Dhabi, but not everyone in our office felt it."

IRAN TOLL

The powerful earthquake has killed at least 32 people and injured 600 more in Iran, with fears of a rising death toll. 

Several small villages were destroyed in the quake, according to state media.

"Up until now the earthquake has left behind 30 dead and 800 injured," Fereydoun Hassanvand, the governor of Bushehr province, was quoted by ISNA as saying.

However there was no reported damage to the nuclear facility near the epicentre.

According to Al Jazeera, Abdulkarim Jomeiri, a member of parliament for Bushehr, told IRNA "the distance between the earthquake focal point  and the Bushehr nuclear power plant was about 80km and, on the basis of the latest information, there has been no damage to the power plant."

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