Nine dead in Turkey after 5,7 magnitude earthquake strikes western Iran
At least nine people died in Turkey on Sunday, 23 February 2020, after an earthquake struck western Iran, Turkish officials confirmed. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that nine Turkish nationals had perished and that a further 37 had been injured. He added that nine of the wounded are in "critical" but not a life-threatening condition at the Baskale State Hospital. Earlier in the morning, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced that at least four adults and three children had died in Van, a city located near the country's border with Iran. The 5,7 magnitude earthquake struck on Sunday morning and an estimated 8,2 million inhabitants were in the impacted area, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre. Some Turkish citizens were trapped under damaged buildings, officials said. Iran's national state-run media said that at least 75 people had been injured, six of whom were hospitalised.
A second earthquake, also magnitude 5,7, struck on Sunday evening in the same area in Iran, according to the country's seismology centre. It was not immediately clear if the second quake caused further damage or casualties in either country. The US Geological Survey put the second earthquake’s magnitude at 6,0. Varying magnitudes are common in the immediate aftermath.
Turkish broadcasters showed images of locals and soldiers digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings as families sat in snowy streets fearing further tremors. Emergency teams were sent to the remote mountainous region, which has a history of powerful earthquakes. Last month, a quake centred on the eastern Turkish city of Elazig killed more than 40 people. In 2011, more than 600 were killed when a quake struck north of Van province's capital.
According to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre, the first quake happened at 9h22 at a depth of five kilometres. The EMSC reported several further quakes that measured up to magnitude 4,4. Iran's seismology centre said the second quake hit the Zarabad district at 19h30 local time at a depth of 28 kilometres. The USGS said the first quake was at a depth of 6,4 kilometres and the second was at 10 kilometres.
The effects of the quake hit four villages in Van. Seven of the fatalities occurred in Ozpinar village, where Soylu said search and rescue teams had arrived. He added that the quake caused 1 066 buildings to collapse while the Education Ministry said a number of schools were damaged.
Koca said 25 ambulances, a medical helicopter and 13 emergency teams had been sent to the region. The Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said 144 tents for families had been dispatched.
IRNA said the first earthquake affected 43 villages in the mountainous Qotour area.
Source: PBS News Hour and Bloomberg