Pope condoles with Iran over strong quake

A photo showing damages sustained in Iran’s southeastern city of Saravan following an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale, April 16, 2013

Leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis has expressed his condolences over the recent earthquake that jolted Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, as well as the southern parts of Pakistan.

“I learned with sadness of the violent earthquake that struck the peoples of Iran and Pakistan, bringing death, suffering and destruction,” he said during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.

“I raise a prayer to God for the victims and for all those who are in pain, and I wish to express my closeness to the Iranian and Pakistani people,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a message to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also sympathized with the Iranian government and nation over the powerful earthquake and offered assistance for the affected people.

“We are prepared to provide all assistance within our means to support your efforts to provide relief to the affected people,” Singh said.

“The people of India join me in conveying our deepest condolences for the loss of life, injury and destruction of property as a result of this natural disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Iran,” he said.

On Tuesday, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit a sparsely populated rural area between the Iranian provincial cities of Saravan and Khash at a depth of 95 kilometers (59 miles) at 3:14 p.m. local time (1044 GMT). The quake, unprecedented in the past 40 years in Iran, prompted officials to declare a state of emergency in the region.

Deputy Governor of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province Mahmoud Miri said that one person had been killed and five others injured in the city of Saravan.

The earthquake was felt across large parts of Iran’s southeastern neighbor, Pakistan, including in Islamabad and the country’s largest city, Karachi, where tremors prompted many to rush out of buildings in terror. The tremor was powerful enough to be felt as far away as New Delhi, India, where it rocked tall buildings.

Saifur Rehman from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority in Quetta, in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province, said the tremor left 34 people dead and scores injured in Pakistan’s remote area of Mashkail in Washuk district, which lies a few kilometers from the Iranian border.

On Wednesday, an aftershock measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hit the same area, more than one hundred kilometers east of the city of Khash. So far, there have been no reports of casualties or damage following the latest quake.

By Press TV


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