Earthquake of magnitude 5.7 strikes Turkey-Iran border region

The quake had a depth of 5 kilometres, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre. PHOTO: USGS

DUBAI (REUTERS) - An earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck the Turkey-Iran border region early on Sunday (Feb 23), the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

Turkey's interior minister reportedly said that seven people were dead.

The quake had a depth of 5km, 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 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.

"Some 43 villages in the area suffered 10 per cent to 100 per cent damage, But we had no reports of casualties, only injuries," he told state TV.

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.

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