ISTANBUL (NBC NEWS) — Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.
Three of those killed were children and 37 Turkish people were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.
The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.
The quake damaged buildings some 56 miles to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.
Turkish TV footage showed people digging with shovels and their hands in the rubble, as well as furniture and belongings strewn on cracked and snowy roads.
In one village the ground cratered under several buildings, while in others residents were wrapped in blankets outside homes with crumbled and cracked exterior walls, fallen metal roofs and twisted wiring.
“The damage caused loss of life,” the governor of Van, Mehmet Bilmez, told reporters standing in front of a pile of cinder blocks and sheet metal. “There is destruction in all four villages” he visited on Sunday morning, he added.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said the quake, which hit at 8:53 a.m. local time, had a depth of 3.1 miles.
Last month a quake centered on the eastern Turkish city of Elazig killed more than 40 people.
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