TEHRAN, Iran — A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck northwestern Iran early Friday, killing at least five people and injuring over 300 others, officials said.
The temblor struck Tark county in Iran’s Eastern Azerbaijan province at 2:17 a.m., Iran’s seismological center said. The area is some 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of Iran’s capital, Tehran.
Over 40 aftershocks rattled the rural region nestled in the Alborz Mountains, and residents rushed out of their homes in fear. The quake injured at least 312 people, state television reported, though only 13 needed to be hospitalized. It described many of the injuries happening when people fled in panic.
The head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, gave the casualty figures to state television. There were no immediate video or images broadcast from the area.
Rescuers have been dispatched to the region, officials said. State TV reported the earthquake destroyed 30 homes at its epicenter.
The US Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.
It issued an alert warning that “significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”
Iran is on major seismic faults and experiences one earthquake a day on average. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.
A magnitude 7 earthquake that struck western Iran in 2017 killed more than 600 people and injured more than 9,000.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.