Huge earthquake hits Iran - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 16 April 2013

Huge earthquake hits Iran

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 16 April 2013

By Helen Ward

A huge earthquake in Iran has killed at least 46 people and been felt as far away as Indian capital city New Delhi.

The earthquake, which struck south-east Iran near the border with Pakistan, has flattened homes and offices. Although the area is sparsely populated, Iran’s Red Crescent charity has said it is facing a “complicated emergency situation”, trying to contact villages in the mountainous region.

Some unconfirmed estimates have put the death toll in the hundreds.

The US Geological Survey said the disaster struck at 10.44 GMT (15.14 local time) and the epicentre was 83km east of Khash, a city with a population of 160,000.

The quake, which had a magnitude of 7.7, was felt over a large area, including the Gulf cities, which have some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Temporary evacuations were ordered from some high-rises in Abu Dhabi as a precaution.

This is not the first earthquake in the region in recent times. In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake killed some 26,000 people when it destroyed much of the city of Bam in Iran. In 2008, a 7.2-magnitude tremor hit killed 200-300 people and made an estimated 20,000 homeless.

The region sits on a tectonic plate boundary, meaning that, like San Francisco in California, it is subject to serious earthquake activity.

Today’s earthquake was the second to hit Iran recently. Last week, a 6.3-magnitude tremor was recorded in the southwest of the country, killing an estimated 37 people and injuring 850 more.


  • Earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates. What other effects can their movement have?
  • What kind of aid might people at the site of an earthquake need?
  • What challenges do you think rescue workers will face in this particular situation?
  • Is there anything we could do in school to help people who have been affected by natural disasters such as this one?

Resources for you

Why do earthquakes happen?

  • A PowerPoint resource exploring why earthquakes happen.


  • A great series of lesson ideas on earthquakes.

How to survive an earthquake

  • Teach your class how to survive an earthquake.

What to do in an earthquake

  • This lesson looks at what to do in an earthquake - prepare; protect; and predict.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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