At least 22 dead as southern Iran hit by floods, earthquakes

A boat reaches a man in a river in Iran, after heavy rainfall causes flooding. PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (REUTERS) - At least 22 people were killed in flash floods caused by heavy rains in Iran's southern province of Fars, a provincial official said on Saturday (July 23).

In the southern province of Hormozgan, on the Gulf, meanwhile, two strong earthquakes prompted authorities to deploy search and rescue teams.

"We have not received any report of serious damage yet. But large areas have been struck by these earthquakes and the evaluation work continues," Mokhtar Salahshour, head of Hormozgan Province's Red Crescent, told state TV.

Iranian state media said the quakes had magnitudes of 5.7 and 5.8. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said one earthquake had a magnitude of 5.5.

In early July, at least five people were killed and 49 injured by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck an area near the epicentre of Saturday's quake.

There was at least one person missing in the Fars flooding, Khalil Abdollahi, head of the province's crisis management department, was quoted as saying by the semi-official news agency Tasnim.

He said 55 people had been rescued in the flood which submerged 15 cars.

The governor of Fars province declared Sunday a day of mourning, state media said.

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