TEHRAN -- At least five people were killed by a magnitude-6.1 earthquake in southern Iran early on Saturday, with the area also hit by two later strong quakes of up to 6.3 magnitude.
“Five people have died in the earthquake … and so far 12 are hospitalized,” Mehrdad Hassanzadeh, the head of emergency management in Hormozgan province on Iran’s Persian Gulf coast, said.
“Rescue work has been carried out and we are now providing tents as emergency housing.”
IRNA news agency said a magnitude-6.3 earthquake and a magnitude-6.1 quake followed the 6.1 quake that flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh near Iran’s Persian Gulf coast. There were more than a dozen aftershocks.
“All of the victims died in the first earthquake and no one was harmed in the next two severe quakes as people were already outside their homes,” said Fuad Moradzadeh, the governor of Bandar Lengeh country, quoted by IRNA.
At least 30 aftershocks were felt in villages and towns near Bandar Abbas, local officials said, adding that tremors were also felt in the neighboring United Arab Emirates.
The quakes sent thousands of people into the streets, where they spent the rest of the night. Many people are still staying in tents that local authorities and emergency services have set up.
Yaqoub Soleimani, the secretary general of the local Red Crescent emergency aid service, told Iranian media the search and rescue operations have concluded and no more casualties are expected.
He said setting up cooling systems for those affected by the tremors is a challenge as local temperatures reach as high as 45 degrees Celsius.
Videos on social media and those aired by national television showed homes destroyed in several villages. Dozens of villages also briefly lost power.
Hormozgan governor Mahdi Doosti said, “With the efforts of people and rescuers, no one is under the rubble anymore and now the distribution of relief data-x-items in the area has started.”
He also said power has been restored to 27 villages so far, noting work is underway to restore electricity to 53 other villages in and around the epicenter.
The governor went on to say that while there was no damage to the large cities in the southern province, the roads running from Bandar Abbas to Bandar Lengeh have been destroyed and there have been instances of subsidence and cracks in the bridges.
Iran’s southern provinces have recently seen several powerful