At least five people were killed and 44 others injured after an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 hit Iran early on Saturday, reported state media.
“Five people have died in the earthquake … and so far 12 are hospitalised,” Mehrdad Hassanzadeh, head of emergency management in Hormozgan province on Iran‘s Gulf coast, told state TV. “Rescue work has been carried out and we are now providing tents as emergency housing.”
According to the state news agency Irna, powerful aftershocks of magnitude 6.3 and magnitude 6.1 followed the initial quake that flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh.
“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,” Foad Moradzadeh, governor of Bandar Lengeh country, was quoted as saying by Irna.
Rescue teams were deployed in and around the village in Hormozgan, located about 1,000km south of the capital of Tehran.
“Currently, 75 rescue-operational forces and emergency teams are present in the earthquake-affected areas with the use of 12 operational vehicles,” Iran’s Red Crescent Society said on Twitter.
About 12 nearby villages were damaged, while five villages lost power, reported CNN.
People ran to the streets as they continued to experience more than dozen aftershocks in the area.
The earthquake was felt in many neighbouring countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to the US Geological Survey.
Iran lies on major seismic fault lines and experiences an average of one earthquake a day. In recent years, the Middle Eastern country has suffered several devastating earthquakes, including in 2003 when a 6.6-magnitude quake in Kerman province claimed the lives of 31,000 people and flattened the historic city of Bam.
In 2017, about 600 people were killed and 9,000 injured after a magnitude 7 earthquake struck western Iran.