Rescue operations in the southern Iran province of Bushehr ended on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the 6.3-magnitude tremor killed 37 people, reported officials.

Red Crescent official said that 20 people had been rescued and that there were no more bodies under the rubble. The earthquake left 850 people injured, 100 of them seriously.

The Interior Ministry announced that reconstruction in the affected areas has already started. The quake devastated hundreds of houses in the two towns of Kaki and Shonbeh. Thousands are currently homeless and have been provided temporary accommodation in tents.

Iranian experts placed the epicentre of the quake in the Dashti area, more than 100 km south-east of where a 1,000-MW nuclear power plant is located.

Iranian officials reiterated on Wednesday that the quake caused no damage to the plant, which started operations in Bushehr in 2011.

Recent shutdowns of the plant, unrelated to the earthquake, have raised concerns about its safety.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3 and struck at 4.22 p.m. (1152 GMT), at a depth of 10 km. Its epicentre was 89 km south-east of the provincial capital, Bandar Bushehr.

The main tremor was followed by at least five aftershocks, the biggest of which reached a magnitude of 5.2.

Major earthquakes are not uncommon in Iran, which is crossed by major fault lines.


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