At least 20 villages were totally destroyed in the quakes on Saturday that were followed by some 36 aftershocks, state television reported. Ahmad Reza Shajiei, a senior government official in charge of rescue operations, said more than 5,000 tents have been set up to shelter the thousands of displaced who spent the night outdoors.
“The moment the earthquake hit, it was like a snake biting from underground. It was the worst experience of my life,” said resident Morteza Javid, 47, from Ahar.
“The walls were shaking and moving from side to side. It took about a minute before I could run out of the house,” he said. “Seconds before the earthquake, crows were making a lot of noise, but I didn’t understand why. It was only after the quake that I learned the crows were warning us.” Javid said he drove more than a dozen injured people to hospitals during the night.