Last night at 22:31 local time, an earthquake magnitude of 5.8  jolted the outskirts of Bojnord, the capital of Iran’s North Khorasan Province. The epicentre of the shallow earthquake was just 22 kilometres from the provincial capital, with tremors felt as far away as Mashhad, the capital of neighbouring Razavi Khorasan Province. Initial reports indicate that at least 3 people died as a result of the quake, with a further 225 people injured. Since the initial quake, 21 minor aftershocks have been recorded.

“The Red Crescent provided emergency shelter and relief for the people of Bojnordi following last night’s earthquake,” explained Mr Morteza Salimi, Head of Red Crescent Relief and Rescue Organization. The North Khorasan provincial Red Crescent branch has deployed 33 operational teams, including 142 relief and rescue workers and 11 national emergency response teams, along with 4 search and rescue dog teams to the disaster-hit areas to provide search and rescue services to the affected in the region.

Over 470 tents have already been erected to accommodate people affected by the earthquake, and overnight, 500 blankets and over 900 ground sheets have been provided to people in need. A Red Crescent helicopter remains on standby in North Khorasan in case needed.

According to government reports, villages and communities on the outskirts of Bojnord, Maneh and Samarghan towns have been worst hit. Electricity and gas connections to 14 villages have been cut.

“There are 97 villages with a total population of 31,150 people within 20 kilometres of the epicentre of the earthquake,” explained Mr Salimi. Assessment teams of the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran were dispatched overnight to the affected areas to ensure all necessary assistance reaches those in greatest need.

Along with shelter and relief supplies, Red Crescent teams are providing medical assistance where necessary, with 210 people helped by Red Crescent medical teams since last night’s quake. In addition, 19 people have been released from the rubble.

Location of earthquake

Epicentre (Bojnord)

In context

Iran sits astride several major seismic faults and is prone to frequent earthquakes. The worst in recent times hit Bam in Kerman Province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people – about a quarter of its population – and destroying the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.

The deadliest quake was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. Around 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. In August 2012, two quakes in northwestern Iran killed 306 people and injured more than 4,500 others.