49 people were injured following three successive shallow earthquakes (between 10 and 16 km deep) which shook the province of Hormozgan (south), in particular the most affected village of Sayeh Khosh, underlines state television.
The first earthquake occurred around 02:00 (21:30 GMT) with a magnitude of 6 at a depth of 16 km, according to the American Seismological Institute (USGS).
It was followed by two other aftershocks, two hours later, with a magnitude of 5.7 and 6, at a depth of 10 km, according to the same source.
Iranian First Vice President Mohhammad Mokhber called on local officials to “mobilize all means available in the province to bring relief to the victims”, according to state television.
According to television footage, several residential buildings collapsed in Sayeh Khosh and the town was plunged into darkness following a power outage.
In Bandar Abbas, a port city and capital of the province where half a million people live, people spent the night in the streets after the earthquake and long queues formed in front of gas stations, according to public television.
Electricity was also cut in nearly 30 villages located in the affected areas, according to the same source.
– A half-destroyed village –
Search and rescue operations are almost over, the country’s Red Crescent said, quoted by television.
“We are concentrating on welcoming the victims of the earthquake,” provincial governor Mehdi Dousti told television, adding that half of the village of Sayeh Khosh was destroyed.
The quake occurred in an area 100 kilometers southwest of the port of Bandar Abbas, according to the United States Seismological Institute (USGS).
One person had already been killed in November 2021 in this province of Hormozgan, hit by earthquakes of magnitude 6.4 and 6.3.
Located on the edge of several tectonic plates, Iran is a zone of strong seismic activity.
In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake partially destroyed the city of Bam (southeast) and killed at least 31,000 people
But the deadliest earthquake in Iran was of magnitude 7.4, which occurred in 1990, killing 40,000 people in the north of the country.