Tehran, Iran An earthquake with a magnitude of at least 5.9 shook a sparsely populated area of southern Iran on Sunday, flattening seven villages, killing 10 people and injuring 70, officials and state-run television said. The temblor was felt as far away as Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Heidar Alishvandi, the governor of Qeshm, was quoted by state television as saying rescue teams were deployed to the affected area, and people in the wrecked villages moved quickly to safely.
Another provincial official, Ghasem Karami, told the Associated Press that high casualties were not expected because the area was not heavily developed.
Tehran's seismologic center said the quake was of magnitude 5.9, but the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., said it had a magnitude of 6.1. A magnitude-6.0 quake can cause severe damage.
Iran's seismologic center said the epicenter was in the waters of the Persian Gulf between the port city of Bandar Abbas and Qeshm Island, about 940 miles south of Tehran. The USGS said the quake was 35 miles southwest of Bandar Abbas, which has about 500,000 residents.
Masoud Dalman, head of Hormozgan province's emergency affairs, said several buildings on Qeshm Island were damaged. The island has about 200,000 residents.
State-run TV reported that Qeshm Island's airport sustained minor damage and part of a major hospital collapsed from the force of the quake. No further details were provided.
Shahram Alamdari, head of Iranian Red Crescent's rescue unit, said two helicopters were evacuating the injured from Qeshm to Bandar Abbas.
The quake cut telephone links between Qeshm Island and the mainland, the report said.
In Oman and the United Arab Emirates, buildings were evacuated, and people fled into the streets.
In Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the UAE, several buildings in the skyscraper-lined central business district were evacuated. They included the twin Emirates Towers, the highest buildings on the main street, where many international corporations and Dubai government institutions have offices.