Rescue Efforts Underway after Azarbaijan Deadly Quake
By Staff, Agencies
Relief and rescue operations are underway in East Azarbaijan province, northwest of Iran, following a 5.9-magnitude earthquake which killed five and wounded over 350 people.
The moderate quake struck the town of Tark in the early hours of Friday. Over 40 aftershocks have since jolted the region.
The large part of the damage and casualties occurred in the nearby village of Varnakesh, where five people lost their lives. A local governor says 400-500 houses have been damaged.
The number of casualties is likely to rise.
Makeshift tents have been pitched in the quake-hit areas, and food is being distributed among the people, according to the head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society.
Shortly after the incident, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the governor-general of the province to get informed about the extent of damages and the conditions of those injured.
In the phone call, Rouhani issued instructions for effective and immediate rescue efforts, and called for meeting the quake-hit people’s immediate needs.
He also urged that all facilities should be mobilized by all relevant bodies in order to accelerate the provision of services and relief for the injured.
Rouhani also delegated Trade and Industry Minister Reza Rahmani to the region for closely monitoring the situation.
According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center [EMSC], some 20 million people felt the quake across Iran and possibly in neighboring Turkey. The earthquakes' shallow depth amplified the shaking.
Iran experiences frequent seismic activity as it sits where two major tectonic plates meet.
Earthquakes have sometimes turned disastrous over the past years. In 2003, more than 26,000 people lost their lives following a major quake that decimated the ancient city of Bam in eastern Iran. In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake in northern Iran killed thousands of people.
At least three other significant quakes stuck in 2005, 2012, and 2017, which killed over 1,000 people.