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At least five dead, dozens injured as strong earthquake hits Northern Iran

2017 Kermanshah, Iran earthquake (Alireza Vasigh Ansari/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 has struck in northwestern Iran in the East Azerbaijan Province, killing at least five people, state media have reported.

According to early reports, at least 120 other people have been injured in the quake, which hit at 2:17 a.m. on November 8.

Authorities reported that heavy rains in the area are hampering rescue efforts, and details remain unclear. More than 40 aftershocks hit the area.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) listed the quake’s magnitude at 5.8 with a depth of 10 kilometers. It put the epicenter near the town of Asbforushan.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) put the location as 112 kilometers southeast of the major city of Tabriz.

The EMSC said that some 20 million people felt the quake.

One official said that “the earthquake was in the middle of the village of Varankesh and the injured were from the city of Sarab. A number of houses were reported demolished in the city of Turkmenchay.

Tabriz has been the site of many deadly earthquakes throughout history.

In 2012, more than 300 people died in two earthquakes that struck near the city of some 1.56 million people.

Earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or higher generally can cause substantial damage.

Iran is prone to earthquakes as it sits on major fault lines and experiences an average of one temblor a day.

On November 6, a 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan.

The were no reports of injuries or damage from that quake.

According to the USGS, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck the region about 190 kilometers southeast of the November 8 quake, killing nearly 50,000 people.

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake destroyed the historic city of Bam in southeast Iran in 2003, killing 26,000 people.