UPDATES WITH REMARKS OF INTERIOR MINISTER; ADDS DETAILS; CHANGES DECK
By Burak Bir, Fahri Aksut and Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) - At least nine people died and 50 others were injured in eastern Turkey on Sunday after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck near the Iranian border region, the country's health minister said.
The northwestern Iranian city of Khoy was hit twice on Sunday by 5.9 magnitude earthquakes, and tremors from the quakes were also felt in Turkey's Van province, according to Turkey's National Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the condition of two of the injured was serious but the others do not have any life-threatening injuries.
At least 12 injured people were discharged from hospitals by Sunday night, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said after a visit to the affected areas.
Soylu said around 250 houses and 300 barns were destroyed, and 700 houses in several villages were heavily damaged.
Most of the damaged structures were mud houses built by locals, he added.
The minister confirmed there were no casualties in the second earthquake that struck on Sunday evening.
Soylu also briefed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the ongoing search and rescue efforts, according to Turkey's Communications Directorate.
The first quake that struck at 9:24 a.m. local time (0624GMT) had a depth of six kilometers (3.7 miles) and the epicenter was in Iran’s Qotur district, according to the Iranian Seismological Center (IRSC).
According to the IRSC, the second quake occurred at 7:30 p.m. local time (0430GMT) and its epicenter was in the northwestern Zarabad region of Khoy.
Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. Last month, an earthquake in the eastern Turkish province of Elazig killed more than 40 people.