The epicentre was near Van province. Buildings that were already damaged in last month's quake were toppled completely and included office buildings and hotels. The quake occurred at 2123 local time (1423 EDT) at a depth of 4.8km.
People are reported to have been seen running in panic through the streets and ambulances are rushing to the scene of the collapsed hotel. It was only earlier on Wednesday that Medicins Sans Frontiers
delivered 2,000 winter-warming tents and 2,000 cooking kits to 12,000 people living in Van and Ercis, the cities most affected by the October 23
As with the earlier quake, television pictures are showing residents and rescuers trying to lift debris to free people believed to be trapped under the hotel in the provincial capital, reports BBC News
. Although it is too early to know how many people have died in the latest quake, many would-be rescuers are running over the shattered masonry, shouting: "Is there anyone there?"
Journalists and media staff who are staying at one of the hotels which has collapsed were there covering the first quake back in October.
200 miles east of Van in northern Iran occurred earlier today.