Magnitude 5.7 quake hits Turkey-Iran border area

Rescue workers search the site of a collapsed building, after an earthquake in Elazig, Turkey, January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

An earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck the Turkey-Iran border region early on Sunday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said, although Turkey and Iran said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake had a depth of 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), the EMSC said. Turkish public broadcaster TRT World said it affected about 43 villages in Turkey, which has a history of powerful earthquakes.

“Our rescue teams have been dispatched to the area. So far, we had no reports of damage or fatalities in the area, which is not a populated area in Iran’s West Azarbaijan province,” an Iranian official told state TV.

But another local official said “it is very likely that there will be casualties and damages”, Iran’s state TV reported.

TRT said damage inspection teams had been dispatched to the region. There were also reports of building collapses in the Turkish city of Van with no immediate reports of casualties.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

An earthquake last month in eastern Turkey had killed more than 40 people while another in Iran had caused structural damage to homes without causing any fatalities.