Seven people died while others were trapped under collapsed buildings the Turkish interior minister said on Sunday after an earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck the Turkey-Iran border region earlier in the day.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said the quake had a depth of 5 kilometres. Turkish public broadcaster TRT World said it affected about 43 villages in Turkey, which has a history of powerful earthquakes.
“Our rescue teams have been dispatched to the area. 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,” an Iranian official told state TV.
But another local official said “it is very likely that there will be casualties and damages”, Iran’s state TV reported. The official said the earthquake was felt in several cities including Khoy, Urmiah and Salmas. He said about 43 villages in Iran were impacted.
TRT said damage inspection teams had been dispatched to the region. There were also reports of building collapses in the Turkish city of Van.
Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.
An earthquake last month in eastern Turkey had killed more than 40 people while another in Iran had caused structural damage to homes without causing any fatalities.