TEHRAN: At least three people have been killed and more than 800 injured in a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in north-western Iran.
Some 60 seriously injured people were undergoing emergency surgery in nearby hospitals, and almost all of them are now out of danger, the local health authority said, according to state broadcaster IRIB.
The epicentre of the quake was in the town of Choi in West Azerbaijan province, Iranian media reported on Saturday night. According to the reports, numerous buildings were damaged in Choi and in dozens of other localities in the border region with Turkey.
Local authorities said the area was shaken by 12 aftershocks during the night. According to the Geo Research Centre Potsdam, the quake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres at around 9.44 pm (1814 GMT) on Saturday evening, reported German Press Agency (dpa).
The Iranian government immediately sent Red Crescent rescue workers to the affected areas. Fearing further aftershocks, more than 70,000 families had to spend the night outdoors despite the freezing cold.
There had also been an earthquake in the same region on January 18, when at least 120 people were injured and hundreds of buildings damaged. - Bernama