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Earthquake in northwest Iran: Official says temporary accommodation completed

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A 5.4-magnitude earthquake incurs damages to a home near Khoy in West Azarbaijan Province, on January 18, 2023. (Photo by IRNA)

An official says relief teams have provided temporary accommodation to all families affected by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake that hit near the city of Khoy, in the northwestern Iranian province of West Azarbaijan.

According to the Seismological Center of the Institute of Geophysics of Tehran University, the tremor struck an area some nine kilometers northwest of Khoy at 13:38 p.m. local time (1008 GMT), on Wednesday at a depth of 10 km.

“The process of providing people with temporary accommodation has been completed,” Mohammad Hassan Nami, head of the National Disaster Management Organization Of Iran, said on Thursday. “For now, there is no need for public donations as all required facilities are available.”

In a report on Thursday morning, the seismological center added that 15 aftershocks also hit the area since Wednesday noon, with nine of them being above 3 on the Richter scale.

According to the latest reports, 194 people were injured during the strongest aftershock and were taken to local hospitals; however, only 24 individuals have been hospitalized.

The quake has had no death toll so far.

Initial estimates show that the jolt has caused damage to some 500 houses in Firuraq city and nearby villages as a detailed report on the extent of damage is expected in the next 48 hours.

Affected people in Firuraq have been accommodated in sporting halls, Nami said, adding, in nearby villages, as people wanted to be accommodated near their own homes, some 2,000 tents and heating devices have been offered to people so that they can stay there till aftershocks stop.

Relief teams have provided people with food rations for their next 72 hours, the official noted, adding that warm meals are also being distributed among people since Thursday.

Rescue teams were dispatched to the affected areas immediately after the jolt and high-ranking Iranian officials urged the related bodies to perform relief operations as soon as possible.

On Wednesday evening, President Ebrahim Raeisi expressed sympathy with the affected people, calling on responsible organizations in the province to promptly provide people with temporary accommodation and other related equipment.

Meanwhile, Seyyed Etezad Moqimi, an official with the Energy Ministry, said on Thursday that groups are busy providing tents with electricity. A few problems in the affected area’s grid that were caused by the quake were solved, he said, noting that no problem with the water distribution network has been reported.

Another 5.4-magnitude earthquake also struck Khoy on October 5, 2022, damaging more than 5,000 houses in the area.

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