Earthquake kills three, injures 800 in northwest Iran

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Iran overnight, killing at least three people and injuring more than 800 in the region near the border with Turkey, officials said on Sunday. State and the Media.

Panicked residents fled their homes as buildings collapsed and rubble crushed cars, with hundreds seeking shelter from freezing winter conditions at evacuation centers as more than 20 aftershocks rocked the area.

The shallow quake hit the city of Khoy, which has a population of about 200,000, in West Azerbaijan province at 9:44 p.m. (1814 GMT) on Saturday, the Seismological Center of Tehran University said.

“This incident left 816 injured and three dead,” West Azerbaijan Governor Mohammad Sadegh Motamedian was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

People were seen wrapped in blankets and huddled around the blazes in the snowy region, in footage released by Iranian media as state television broadcast footage of major damage to residential buildings, including houses half destroyed.

Buildings in 70 villages were damaged by the quake, the state news agency reported, with rescuers clearing the rubble to free those trapped in the area about 800 kilometers (500 miles) to the northwest from the capital Tehran.

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pirhossein Koolivand, later announced that search and rescue operations had ended, with no more survivors or trapped bodies.

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi traveled to Khoy to observe the situation, where he said water, electricity and gas connections had been hit but were being repaired. recovery, IRNA reported.

– History of major earthquakes –

Iran straddles the boundaries of several major tectonic plates and experiences frequent seismic activity.

On January 18, a previous earthquake of magnitude 5.8 near Khoy left hundreds injured.

In February 2020, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit the village of Habash-e Olya in western Turkey and killed at least nine people.

The deadliest earthquake recorded in Iran was a magnitude 7.4 earthquake in 1990 that killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless in the north of the country.

In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in southeastern Iran flattened the ancient mud-brick city of Bam and killed at least 31,000 people.

In November 2017, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in Kermanshah province in western Iran killed 620 people.

And in December 2019 and January 2020, two earthquakes struck near Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Iran’s Arab neighbors in the Gulf have raised concerns about the reliability of the country’s only nuclear power plant and the risk of radioactive leaks in the event of a major earthquake.


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