Five dead, 80 injured as earthquakes rock southern Iran
At least five people were killed and over 80 injured after a number of strong earthquakes rocked southern Iran on Saturday.
A quake at 2am local time (9:30pm GMT Friday) flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh in Hormozgan province near Iran's Gulf coast and was followed by 24 tremors reaching a magnitude of up to 6.3.
A 6.0 magnitude quake struck hours later, according to the US Geological Survey.
"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 Foad Moradzadeh, the governor of Bandar Lengeh county, as quoted by news agency IRNA.
Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, visiting Hormozgan province, told state media that the government had made restoring water and electricity a top priority.
"Eighty-four people were injured out of whom only 15 are still in hospital for treatment," national emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi said.
Search and rescue operations had ended according to local officials, who said they would now concentrate on housing the victims of the quake.
Residents of the provincial capital, Bandar Abbas, home to more than 500,000, spent the night outdoors, with long queues forming in front of petrol stations.
Iran sits on the boundaries of several tectonic plates and has been devastated by major earthquakes in recent decades.
The country’s deadliest quake in 1990 was a 7.4 magnitude tremor in the north, which killed 40,000 and left half-a-million homeless.
A 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Kerman province in 2003 claimed the lives of 31,000, completely flattening the ancient mud-brick city of Bam.