KABUL (BNA) At least three people have died and more than 800 injured in a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Iran’s West Azerbaijan province on Saturday, officials said.
The head of Iran’s National Medical Emergency Organization, told state TV that so far three deaths and 816 injuries had been confirmed.
The governor of West Azerbaijan, confirmed the casualty toll during his visit to worst-hit areas in the province.
He said residential properties in at least 70 villages were partially damaged by the high-intensity earthquake.
The quake was reported at around 9:44 pm local time (1814 GMT) on Saturday at a shallow depth of 7 kilometers with an epicenter near the city of Khoy, located 807 km northwest of the capital Tehran.
It was felt in multiple cities, including the provincial capital and largest city Urmia, officials and residents said.
Soon after the quake, multiple teams of the Red Crescent Society in West Azerbaijan were dispatched to the worst-affected areas to assess the damage, officials said.
Saturday’s quake was followed by at least 30 after-shocks throughout the night, causing panic and forcing people to spend the night outdoors in intense cold.
Meanwhile, according to officials, more than 800 primary and secondary schools have been partially damaged in the city of Khoy, with at least 88 schools incurring heavy damage.
Iran is located in a seismically active zone and has witnessed many catastrophic earthquakes in the past.
The most devastating earthquake to hit the country came in 2013 when at least 34,000 people died in the city of Bam in southeastern Kerman province. The quake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale.
In recent months, a string of high and medium-intensity earthquakes has hit provinces in southern and northern Iran.