A 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Bam, some 200 miles east of the Iranian capital of Tehran, at around 6:43pm local time on Sunday, with media outlets reporting that more than 150 people had been killed in the disaster. While there are no immediate reports of casualties of the tremors in Tehran, which were felt as far away as New Delhi, the city was forced to suspend operations at its main airport because of the damage sustained.
My contact here in Bam, in the Dari region of Iran, tells me that quite a few of the houses have collapsed. Homes made of concrete were very sturdy compared to the mud and brick shacks. That’s why we haven’t seen a single death here, but there are probably casualties elsewhere — Khalid Rahbawi (@KhalidRahbawi) May 5, 2019
The explosion and fire that followed the quake appear to have taken place in the city’s busy, crowded bazaar, which the BBC reports is among the most important in Iran. While there is no indication yet of who is to blame for the disaster, “an earthquake this big, coupled with a spate of deadly ones already this year, has thrown into question the preparedness of Iran and its neighbors for natural disasters,” as the BBC notes. Such was the scale of the disaster that the head of Iran’s Department of Disaster Management ordered state officials to be vigilant about reports that “other earthquake tremors are coming.”