By Stephen Ryan, IFRC / Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran

On Friday 6 January 2017, an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale hit Iran’s southern city of Khonj in Fars province, killing four people and injuring four others. Those killed were Afghan nationals, living together in a house in Khonj. More than 2.5 million Afghan nationals have been living in Iran for as much as four decades, mostly in eastern and southern areas.

As a result of the earthquake, which occurred at 6 a.m. local time at a depth of 4 kilometers, the walls and roofs of old buildings crumbled and the local power grid was shut down.

Feyzullah Jafari, Managing Director for provincial Red Crescent branch in Fars explained that this tremor affected the four villages of Chah Tala, Kheirabad, Seifabad and Takhte, all in the vicinity of Khonj city in Fars province.

“Red Crescent assessment teams from Shiraz provincial branch immediately deployed to assess earthquake-stricken rural areas after getting the notice of the quake,” Jafari said.

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Jafari noted that in all, 15 operational teams were deployed. These teams were made up of 18 Red Crescent staff and relief workers and a further 36 rescuers. The teams could count on the use of 15 operational heavy and light vehicles together with relief ambulances to carry out relief, search and rescue, as well as emergency shelter services to the people affected by the quake.

“A number of people received outpatient services, residents immediately evacuated to safer places and two more have been transferred to medical centres by Red Crescent relief and medical forces,” said Jafari.

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“In all, 181 relief tents, 1,570 blankets, 739 ground sheets, 2,643 cans of canned food, 64 boxes of tea, and 186kg of sugar was been distributed to those affected and 905 people received emergency shelter,” he added.

Earthquakes are common in Iran as the country sits on a series of seismic fault lines. In August 2012, two quakes in northwestern Iran claimed the lives of 306 people and injured more than 4,500 others.

In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a 6.6-magnitude quake that jolted historic southeastern city of Bam.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), has determined that external assistance is not required at this time, and is therefore not seeking funding or other assistance from donors and within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Read more about this Red Crescent response in the National Society information bulletin for this earthquake.