Magnitude 5.7 Quake Hits Turkey-Iran Border Area

DUBAI (Reuters) -

An earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck the Turkey-Iran border region early on Sunday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said, although Turkey and Iran said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake had a depth of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), the EMSC said. 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 Azerbaijan Province,” an Iranian official told state media.

But another local official said “it is very likely that there will be casualties and damages,” Iran’s state media 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.

“Some 43 villages in the area suffered 10% to 100% damage, But we had no reports of casualties, only injuries,” he told state media.

TRT said damage inspection teams had been dispatched to the region. There were also reports of building collapses in the Turkish city of Van with no immediate reports of casualties.

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.