At least five people are dead and scores of others injured after multiple earthquakes struck Iran's southern province of Hormozgan early on Saturday.
According to state media reports, more than 20 earthquakes with various magnitudes shook different parts of Hormozgan, three of which were above 6 on the Richter scale and the rest between three and four.
A magnitude-6.1 earthquake left at least 5 dead in the west of the province, while two later strong quakes of up to 6.3 magnitude left 44 others injured, Iran's Fars News Agency said.
"There are 44 injured people and 5 dead as a result of the earthquakes in the west of Hormozgan, of whom 22 people have been treated in outpatients and 22 people are hospitalized,” said Mojtaba Khalidi, the spokesman of Iran's emergency services.
Hormozgan governor Mahdi Doosti said the occurrence of three earthquakes above 6 on the Richter scale caused a lot of damage to the village of Sayeh Khosh, which was close to the epicenter of the earthquakes.
“With the efforts of people and rescuers, no one is under the rubble anymore and now the distribution of relief items in the area has started,” Doosti told Fars news agency.
He also said power has been restored to 27 villages so far, noting work is underway to restore electricity to 53 other villages in and around the epicenter.
The governor went on to say that while there was no damage to the large cities in the southern province, the roads running from Bandar Abbas to Bandar Lengeh have been destroyed and there have been instances of subsidence and cracks in the bridges.
The bridges are currently being repaired, said Mehrdad Hassanzadeh, head of emergency management in Hormozgan Province, adding people can use alternative routes in the meantime.
Hassanzadeh also asked people to avoid any unnecessary commute on those routes to speed up relief operations.
Iran experiences frequent seismic activity as it sits where two major tectonic plates meet.
The earthquakes have sometimes turned disastrous over the past years. In 2003, more than 26,000 people lost their lives following a major quake that ruined the ancient city of Bam in eastern Iran.
In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake in northern Iran killed thousands of people. At least two other significant quakes stuck in 2005 and 2012, which killed a total of about 1,000 people.