At least four people were killed and 26
injured Wednesday in an earthquake that jolted Bandar Abbas, a major oil port
in the south Iranian province of Hormuzgan.
The casualties were mainly from villages west of the island of Qeshm, which was also the epicentre of the magnitude-6.1 quake, the local governor's office said in a statement.
The statement confirmed figures given by Iran's emergency services, but the toll could rise because not all quake-hit areas had been inspected by relief teams.
The official news agency IRNA reported that more than 100 houses suffered up to 50 per cent damage.
Tents and blankets were dispatched to the stricken area, while the injured were being treated at hospitals on Qeshm and in the provincial capital, Bandar Abbas, said a statement carried by Mehr news agency.
Yasser Hazbavi, head of the local natural disaster headquarters, was earlier quoted as saying by Iran's Khabar news network that rescue teams were at the scene and hospitals in the province were on alert.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1100 GMT about 53 kilometres west of Bandar Abbas.
The main quake was followed by 10 aftershocks, the biggest of which had a magnitude of 4.8 on the Richter scale.
Khabar said the quake hit the port of Bandar Abbas and at least six nearby towns and ports, causing panic among residents.
The earthquake could be felt across from the Gulf in the United Arab Emirates, where buildings were evacuated because of the tremors, news reports said, accvording to dpa.