Two strong earthquakes have struck northwest Iran, killing 220 people, injuring at least 1,500 and scaring thousands into fleeing their homes as aftershocks continued to hit the area.
The US Geological Survey measured Saturday’s first quake at 6.4 magnitude and said it struck 60km northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9km.
A second quake measuring 6.3 struck 49km (30 miles) northeast of Tabriz 11 minutes later at a similar depth.
There have been at least 40 aftershocks since then, Iranian media said.
Thousands fled their homes and remained outdoors as at least 20 aftershocks hit the area.
Casualty numbers could well rise, Iranian officials feared, as some of the injured are in a critical condition, others are still trapped under the rubble and rescuers have yet to reach some of the affected villages.
Iran is straddled by major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which turned the southeastern historic city of Bam into dust and killed more than 25,000 people.