Over 700 injured after magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes western Iran

  • Iranian media reports there are no fatalities after quake hits near country’s border with Iraq
PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 November, 2018, 4:49am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 November, 2018, 4:03pm

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck western Iran near its border with Iraq on Sunday night, injuring more than 700 people and sending fearful residents running into the streets, authorities said.

The Sunday temblor hit near Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran’s Kermanshah province, which was the epicentre of an earthquake last year that killed more than 600 people and where some are still homeless.

State television, citing the emergency services, said that 716 people had been injured, but there were no reports of deaths or major damage.

Authorities said dozens of rescue teams were immediately deployed after the quake stopped and the country’s army and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard were responding.

Officials reported damage at buildings both in town and in rural Kermanshah, as well as to some roadways. The temblor also downed power lines and caused power outages into the night as temperatures hovered around 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit).

The quake struck just after 8pm in Iran, meaning most were still awake at the time and able to quickly flee.

The 6.3 earthquake had a depth of 10km (6.2 miles), according to the US Geological Survey. Iran state TV gave the depth as 5km (3.1 miles). Such shallow earthquakes have broader damage.

Death toll hits 450 after powerful quake rocks Iran and Iraq as aid workers rush to help survivors

The earthquake was felt as far away as the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, about 175km (110 miles) southwest.

Iran is located on major seismic faults and experiences an earthquake per day on average. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam in southern Iran, killing 26,000 people.

Last year’s earthquake near Sarpol-e Zahab, a predominantly Kurdish town, had a magnitude of 7.3 and injured more than 9,000 people. The region, nestled in the Zagros Mountains, largely rebuilt in recent decades after Iran and Iraq’s ruinous 1980s war, saw many buildings collapse or sustain major damage in the 2017 quake.

Sarpol-e Zahab, some 520km (325 miles) southwest of the Iranian capital of Tehran, suffered half of the 2017 earthquake’s casualties.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse