At least five people died in the magnitude-5.5 earthquake that rocked the northeastern Iranian city of Zahan on Wednesday, the Fars news agency reported.

A score of injuries have been confirmed and the death toll could rise as rescue efforts continue, Fars said.

The agency said many homes were damaged or collapsed in the towns near the quake's epicenter.

Panicked residents huddled in the streets of Zahan, which lies near Biryand, capital of South Khorasan province.

So far, authorities have sent a truck loaded with blankets and tents for the homeless victims and they have asked for more help from the provincial and national governments.

Like most of Iran, South Khorasan, bordering on Afghanistan, suffers frequent quakes, which over the past few decades have killed hundreds of thousands of people nationwide. EFE