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A 5.9-magnitude earthquake shakes the border between Iran and Turkey

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A strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the border region between Turkey and Iran on Saturday night, destroying homes in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, according to Iranian media reports and the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC).

The semi-official Fars News Agency said, “According to the initial observations of the Fars reporter, the scale of destruction of homes and buildings in the city of Khoy is relatively high.”

MSC said the quake measured 5.6 on the Richter scale and was at a depth of 10 kilometres. Iranian media said the quake had a magnitude of 5.9 and hit Iran’s West Azerbaijan province.

Iranian state media said rescue teams had been sent to the area and hospitals had been put on alert.

An emergency official told Iranian state television that snow was falling in some quake-affected areas amid freezing temperatures and that there had been some power outages.

Mojtaba Khalidi, a spokesman for Iran’s Emergency Organization, told state television that initial reports indicated damage occurred in Khoy as a result of the earthquake, adding that ambulances were dispatched from the nearby cities of Urmia and Tabriz.

Officials said Red Crescent Society teams in the province bordering Azerbaijan have also been dispatched to the hardest-hit areas to assess the damage.

The state news agency quoted Zabihullah Kazemi, the governor of Khoy, as saying that 15 teams have been dispatched to the quake-stricken areas to assess the extent of the damage and provide relief to the people.

The province was hit by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake earlier this month that shook the city of Khoy and severely damaged property there.

In October, a 5.4-magnitude earthquake in the city of Khoy struck nearly 400 people and partially or completely damaged hundreds of residential properties in urban and rural areas.

Iran is located in a seismically active region and has witnessed many catastrophic earthquakes in the past years.

The most devastating earthquake to hit the country in modern history was in 2013 when at least 34,000 people died in the city of Bam in the southeastern province of Kerman. The magnitude of the earthquake was 6.7 on the Richter scale.

In recent months, a series of high and medium-intensity earthquakes has hit provinces in southern and northern Iran.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said no damage or injuries were reported in Van province, which borders Iran.

Disaster and Emergency Management Chief Yunus Sezer said on Twitter that the concerned disaster and emergency management teams were still carrying out field work to determine the damage in the area.

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