TEHRAN, Iran (AA) – At least three people died and more than 800 were injured in a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Iran’s West Azerbaijan province on Saturday, officials said.
Jafar Miadfar, the head of Iran’s National Medical Emergency Organization, said that three deaths and 816 injuries had been confirmed.
Mohammad Sadegh Motamedian, the governor of West Azerbaijan, confirmed the toll during his visit to worst-hit areas in the province.
He said residential properties in at least 70 villages were partially damaged by the earthquake, which was reported around 9:44 pm local time (1814 GMT) on Saturday at a shallow depth of 7 kilometers with its epicenter near the city of Khoy, 807 km northwest of Tehran.
It was felt in multiple cities, including the provincial capital Urmia, officials and residents said.
According to officials, more than 800 primary and secondary schools have been partially damaged in the city of Khoy, with at least 88 schools incurring heavy damage.
West Azerbaijan, the mountainous province that borders Türkiye, Azerbaijan and Iraq, was jolted by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake earlier this month, which shook Khoy city and caused extensive damage.
In October, another 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Khoy injured nearly 400 people and damaged hundreds of urban and rural residential properties.
Iran is located in a seismically active zone and has witnessed many catastrophic earthquakes in the past.
The most devastating earthquake to hit the country came in 2013 when at least 34,000 people died in the city of Bam in southeastern Kerman province. The quake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale.
In recent months, a string of high and medium-intensity earthquakes hit provinces in southern and northern Iran.
Last month, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake rocked South Khorasan province, weeks after a 5.4 magnitude quake was reported in the same province, with its epicenter in the Ersk region.
In July, at least five people were killed and more than 80 injured after a 6.1 magnitude quake struck the southern province of Hormozgan situated along the coast of the Persian Gulf.