16 injured as Iran quake destroys villages: Report

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake jolted southern Iran, injuring 16 people and destroying as many as 10 villages.

Tehran: A 5.3-magnitude earthquake jolted
southern Iran on Wednesday, injuring 16 people and destroying as many
as 10 villages, Mehr news agency reported.

The quake struck at 9:25 am (5:55 GMT) in the Ardakan
region of Fars province, disaster-management official Hamid
Taghzadeh was cited as saying in the report.

"Sixteen people have been injured, while 17 villages
have been damaged, of which six to 10 are completely
destroyed," he said.

At least five aftershocks occurred after the main
quake, which also rattled the provincial capital of Shiraz,
Mehr reported.

Iran sits astride several major fault lines in the
Earth`s crust and is prone to frequent quakes, many of which
have been devastating.

A quake on December 21 in the southeastern province of
Kerman had left seven people dead, wrecked several villages
and brought down power lines.

The deadliest in recent times was a 6.3-magnitude
quake which hit the southern city of Bam in December 2003,
killing 31,000 people -- about a quarter of its population --
and destroying the city`s ancient mud-built citadel.

PTI