By Nathan Morley
According to Turkish authorities at least nine people were killed and more than 30 others injured after a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck Western Iran on Sunday morning.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre reported several severe aftershocks which measured up to 3.9.
The quake was centered on the Iranian city of Khoy and affected villages in the Turkish province of Van.
Many people remain trapped under the debris of fallen buildings. Turkish health Minister said nine people had died and at least 37 others were injured with nine currently in critical condition.
INRA - the Iranian news agency said the earthquake had damaged homes and other buildings in 43 villages in the mountainous Qotour area.
A spokesman for Iran’s Emergency Organization said 25% - 90% of 25 villages were destroyed. That’s according to the Iranian Students news agency.
NTV – a local station showed images of residents and soldiers digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings as families fearing further tremors sat in snowy streets.
The region has a history of powerful earthquakes. Just last month, a quake centered in the Eastern Turkish area Elâzığ killed more than 40 people.
In 1999, around 17,000 people died in an earthquake in Western Turkey and Iran’s deadliest earthquake was back in 1990 when 40,000 people died and half a million people were left homeless.