At least 7 dead in Turkey after magnitude 5.7 earthquake strikes northwest Iran


At least seven people were killed in Turkey after a magnitude 5.7 earthquake that struck northwestern Iran early Sunday morning, officials in the country said.

The tremblor centered on the Iranian city of Khoy and affected villages in the Turkish province of Van.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu stold a news conference in Ankara that three children and four adults were killed in Turkey’s Baskule district.

Turkey’s health ministry said 21 people were injured, including eight critically.

Emergency teams have been sent to the mountainous region, Soylu said, adding that some 1,066 buildings collapsed in the shallow tremor whose epicenter was in a rural area of northwest Iran.

Turkish TV footage showed people digging with shovels and their hands in collapsed buildings, as well as furniture and belongings strewn on cracked roads. Some residents were wrapped in blankets in the snow outside homes with crumbled exterior walls, fallen metal roofs, wide cracks and twisted wiring.

The magnitude 5.7 quake had a depth of 3 miles, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Center.

Turkish public broadcaster TRT World said it affected about 43 villages in Turkey, which has a history of powerful earthquakes.

Meanwhile in Iran, an official told state TV that rescue teams had “been dispatched to the area.”

They added: “So far, we had no reports of damage or fatalities in the area, which is not a populated area in Iran’s West Azarbaijan province.”

But another local official told state TV that the earthquake was felt in several cities including Khoy, Urmiah and Salmas. He said about 43 villages in Iran were impacted.

“We had no reports of casualties, only injuries,” he said.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

Last month a quake centered on the eastern Turkish city of Elazig killed more than 40 people.

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