EghtesaadOnline: An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Tark in Mianeh County of East Azarbaijan Province shortly before 2:30 a.m. (2300 GMT) Friday, killing at least six people and injuring over 580 up to the time of reporting.
A majority of the injured received outpatient treatment and only 36 people were hospitalized, according to Pir-Hossein Kolivand, the head of Iran's Medical Emergency Services.
The Iranian Seismological Center had registered 57 aftershocks until midday Friday, according to Financial Tribune.
Tark, Sarab and Torkamanchay were the nearest cities to the earthquake's epicenter and were directly affected, but the tremors were also felt in Zanjan, Gilan, Ardabil and West Azarbaijan provinces, ISNA reported.
The incident damaged about 500 residential buildings in 80 villages, among which Varnakesh and Varzeqan experienced the widest destruction.
About 35 emergency teams have been dispatched to the region to provide aid to the people.
The Health Ministry has put clinics and hospitals in nearby cities on full standby and sent teams for prevention of communicable diseases to the area.
According to Ali Asghar Peyvandi, the president of Iranian Red Crescent Society, air emergency is operating in the region in addition to several ambulances and emergency buses that have been stationed nearby.
He added that 60% of the affected population were provided with emergency shelter tents and relief packages and the rest will be accommodated before nightfall.
"People are expected to stay in the tents until tomorrow night," he said.
Due to the depth of the quake, which was estimated to be 18 kilometers, the damage was minor despite its great magnitude, Mehdi Zare’, a fellow researcher at the International Center for Earthquake Studies, said.
He added, however, that the region experienced seven aftershocks measuring from 3.5 to 4.3 on the Richter scale up until Friday noon.
Ali Beitollahi, director of Earthquake Department of Road, Building and Urban Development Research Center, said the aftershocks are expected to continue over the next few days and advised people to stay away from damaged buildings, especially adobe structures.
President Hassan Rouhani was briefed about the latest conditions of the region by Governor General of East Azarbaijan Mohammad Reza Pourmohammadi in a phone conversation on Friday.
He ordered related organizations to mobilize all resources to offer relief and resettlement to people in the quake-hit areas.