ISTANBUL, Turkey (UPDATED) – A magnitude 5.7 earthquake in northwestern Iran on Sunday, February 23, killed at least 8 people in neighboring Turkey and injured dozens more on both sides of the border, authorities said.
“We lost 8 of our citizens, including 3 children,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 21 people were injured and 8 of them were in critical condition, according to Anadolu.
Turkish broadcaster NTV showed images of collapsed adobe houses in several snow-covered villages in Van province on the Iran border.
“There is nobody trapped under the rubble as of this moment,” governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with his interior minister to receive information about the search and rescue operation in the region, the Turkish presidency said.
The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 9:23 am (0553 GMT or 1:53 pm Philippine time), was near the Iranian village of Habash-e Olya, less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the border, according to the US Geological Survey.
The earthquake had a depth of 6 kilometers, according to Tehran University’s Seismological Center.
It injured at least 40 people and 17 of them have been hospitalized in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, according to the country’s emergency services.
The same source also said there was damage to buildings in 43 villages.
Iran sits on top of major tectonic plates and sees frequent seismic activity.
In November 2017, a magnitude 7.3 quake in the western province of Kermanshah killed 620 people.
In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in southeastern Iran decimated the ancient mud-brick city of Bam and killed at least 31,000 people.
Iran’s deadliest quake was a magnitude 7.4 tremor in 1990 that killed 40,000 people in northern Iran, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless.
Turkey’s Van province was struck earlier this month by two avalanches which killed 41 people.
In 2011, an earthquake measuring 7.1 hit near the same region, killing more than 500 people. – Rappler.com