An earthquake in the city of Zahan in northeastern Iran near Afghanistan border has left eight people dead and 30 injured.

ILNA reports that 12 towns have suffered damage and are calling for emergency aid.

Local officials report that many people have left their homes in fear of being buried under debris, and the cold weather means they need heating equipment

The earthquake reportedly occurred at 8:30 PM local timeon Wednesday and registered a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale.

Iranian media report that rescuers have been dispatched to the region and are already engaged in rescue operations.

Zahan was struck by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake last September that left no casualties.