Over 400 hurt in M6.3 earthquake in western Iran as residents rush to the streets

AP

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck western Iran near its border with Iraq on Sunday night, injuring more than 400 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 epicenter of an earthquake last year that killed more than 600 people and where some still remain homeless.

Kermanshah provincial Gov. Houshang Bazvand told Iranian state television that 411 people were hurt, though he said most injuries were minor and only 15 people were hospitalized. He said those injured were from rural areas and the situation was under control.

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 8 p.m. in Iran, meaning most were still awake at the time and able to quickly flee.

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

The earthquake was felt as far away as the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, about 175 km (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 520 km (325 miles) southwest of the Iranian capital of Tehran, suffered half of the 2017 earthquake’s casualties.