At least five people were killed, more than 90 were injured and an entire village was buried under rubble in a massive earthquake that hit southern Iran on Saturday. The US Geological Survey said the quakes, including two of magnitude 6.0, occurred west of the Hormozgan province of the major port city of Bandar Abbas.
The USGS said the first two hours (2130 GMT) was followed by a rattle in an area just north of the city of Dezhgan, followed by a 5.7 aftershock two hours later, followed by a second 6.0-magnitude quake. Hormozgan governor Mehdi Dousti, quoted by the official news agency, said five people died IRNA:, Dousty told state television that the village of Saih Khosh near the epicenter was “completely destroyed”.
“93 people were injured, of whom only seven are still being treated in hospital for treatment,” National Emergency Service spokesman Mojtaba Khalidi told state television. The broadcaster showed footage of residential buildings turning into rubble in Saih Khosh, which was plunged into darkness due to a power outage.
In another video, a family was seen scouring through the rubble and trying to retrieve their belongings as a woman was heard screaming in the background. Ambulances and other vehicles tried to move through the rubble-covered streets as shocked residents wandered through the streets.
As people spent the night in the provincial capital Bandar Abbas – with a population of more than 500,000, located about 100 km east of the quake’s epicenter – there were long queues at gas stations, state media reported.
Interior Minister Ahmed Wahidi visited Hormozgan province and told state television that restoring water and electricity was among the government’s top priorities.
Iran’s Red Crescent Society said in the morning that the search and rescue operation was almost over.
“We are focusing on housing the earthquake victims,” Hormozgan’s governor Douti told state television.
A provincial heritage official told IRNA that the quake damaged 50 historic windmills on Qeshm Island, which is located just off the coast.
Iran sits beneath the boundaries of several major tectonic plates and experiences frequent seismic activity. The Islamic Republic’s deadliest earthquake was a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1990 that killed 40,000 people in the north, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless.
In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake in southeastern Iran leveled the ancient mud-brick city of Bam and killed at least 31,000 people.
In November 2017, 620 people were killed in a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah.
Two earthquakes occurred near Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in December 2019 and January 2020.
Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors have raised concerns about the reliability of the country’s only nuclear power facility, which produces 1,000 megawatts of electricity, and the risk of a radioactive leak in case of a major earthquake.
In February 2020, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake in northwestern Iran killed nine people, including children, and injured dozens on both sides of the border in neighboring Turkey.
In November last year, when twin earthquakes of magnitude 6.4 and 6.3 struck Hormozgan province, one person was killed.