At least five killed, over 300 injured in Iran natural disaster

A magnitude 5.8 natural disaster struck northwestern Iran early today, the US Geological Survey said.

"Rescue teams and helicopters have been dispatched to the quake-hit areas and hospitals are on full alert to help injured people", Iran's emergency medical services chief, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

There are not yet any reports of damages or injuries.

According to the Iranian Seismological Center, the epicenter of the quake was the city of Tark in Mianeh County, about 120 km from the provincial capital of East Azerbaijan Tabriz at 2.17 AM Tehran local time.

Numerous injuries occurred in the panicked aftermath of the quake as people fled their homes, it is believed. There were no images or video broadcast yet from the area.

In the last 10 days, there has been one quake of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

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Magnitude measures the energy released at the source of the quake, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

A damaged auto is seen under the ruins, after an natural disaster hit the Varankesh village in Eastern Azerbaijan province, northwest of Tehran.

A magnitude 3.5 quake was reported Thursday morning at 4:38 a.m.

Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, being crossed by several major fault lines that cover at least 90% of the country. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam.

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  • Sonia Alvarado