Ankara - A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck southeastern Iran on Friday, injuring at least 42 people and destroying several homes in an area where most people live in villages of mud-walled homes. State media said no deaths had been reported.
Rescue workers, special teams with sniffer dogs and units of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia forces were sent to the quake-hit areas in Kerman province, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said.
State TV said many residents rushed out of houses in Kerman city and nearby villages and towns, fearing more tremors after some 30 aftershocks following the 6:32 a.m. (0232 GMT) quake.
"The quake destroyed some houses in eight villages but so far there has been no fatalities," a local official told state TV.
The US Geological Survey said the quake, at first reported as magnitude 6.3, was centered 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Kerman city, with a population of more than 821 000.
The quake was very shallow, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), which would have amplified the shaking in the poor, sparsely populated area.
Head of Relief and Rescue Organisation of Iran's Red Crescent Morteza Salimi told state television that at least 42 people were wounded.
"Assessment teams are surveying the earthquake-stricken areas and villages in Kerman province," state news agency IRNA quoted local official Mohammadreza Mirsadeqi as saying.
Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency said the quake had caused heavy damage in Hajdak village and some villages hit by power and water cuts. Iran’s Red Crescent said emergency shelter, food and water had been sent to the quake-hit areas.
Criss-crossed by several major fault lines, Iran is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in the Kerman province killed 31 000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam.
Last month, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck villages and towns in Iran's western Kermansheh province along the mountainous border with Iraq, killing 530 and injuring thousands of others.