Tehran, Iran – A magnitude 5.9 earthquake in the city of Khoy in northwestern Iran has killed at least three and injured hundreds.
At least 816 people were injured, some of whom were transported to nearby counties for treatment, according to Mohammad Sadegh Motamedian, the governor of the West Azerbaijan province.
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The largest earthquake took place late on Saturday at a depth of 7km (4.3 miles) and was felt in Urmia and several other counties as well. More than 40 aftershocks have been registered since, the largest of which was a magnitude of 4.2.
Damage was reported to buildings and some of the infrastructure in the area as a result of the quakes, especially to residential buildings in dozens of villages surrounding Khoy, some of which also experienced power blackouts.
The city had experienced several smaller but considerable earthquakes in the past few months that bore no casualties and did not leave extensive damage.
The authorities have tried to strengthen vulnerable residential buildings, with the governor saying the efforts worked and damages were only reported in areas where buildings were older and not fortified.
Footage showed streets in Khoy filled with traffic late on Saturday as residents abandoned their homes. Many have since been stationed in temporary tents amid close-to-freezing winter temperatures.
Babak Mahmoudi, the head of the country’s Relief and Rescue Organisation, told state media that two planeloads of aid left the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran shortly after midnight while dozens of trucks filled with rescue items departed for Khoy from surrounding provinces.