Tehran, Iran – At least five people have been killed and dozens more injured after at least three earthquakes with a preliminary magnitude of more than six hit Hormozgan province in southern Iran.
Two of the strongest shocks were recorded at 6.3 magnitude, but the earthquake that caused all of the casualties is an initial magnitude 6.1 earthquake at a depth of about 10 km (6.2 mi) below the surface. surface that struck in the early hours of Saturday.
“All the victims died in the first earthquake and no one was injured in the next two major earthquakes as people were already outside their homes,” local official Foad Moradzadeh said through state news agency IRNA.
At least 30 aftershocks were felt in towns and cities near Bandar Abbas, local officials said, adding tremors were also felt in the neighboring United Arab Emirates.
The quakes caused thousands of people to take to the streets, where they spent the rest of the night. Many people still live in tents set up by local authorities and emergency services.
Yaqoub Soleimani, the secretary general of the local Red Crescent emergency service, told Iranian state media that search and rescue operations have been completed and no more casualties are expected.
He said setting up cooling systems for those affected by the quakes is challenging as local temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees Celsius.
Videos on social media and that of state television showed destroyed houses in several villages. Dozens of villages also fell out briefly.
Iran’s southern provinces have recently experienced several powerful earthquakes, but casualties and damage have been limited. According to state television, 150 earthquakes and tremors have hit western Hormozgan in the past month.
Two powerful earthquakes struck an area near Qeshm Island, close to Bandar Abbas, in November last year, killing one person.
In April last year, an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale hit Bushehr, which is home to a major nuclear power plant, but it did not do much damage.
In southeastern Iran’s Kerman province, a 2003 earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale killed more than 31,000 people and razed the ancient city of Bam to the ground.