Over 700 injured after 6.3-magnitude quake strikes western Iran

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
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Iranian authorities said Monday that the number of injured in the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in western Iran the previous night has risen to 716. One fatality was reported in northern Iraq.

According to Iran's state television, most of the injured were immediately released from hospitals and suffered only slight injuries in the quake on Sunday night. The TV said 37 remained hospitalized.

It said more than 160 aftershocks occurred in the region, including two quakes stronger than magnitude 5. Dozens of rescue teams and several rescue dogs were deployed to the region.

The TV showed footage of hospitalized people. Dr. Hossein Rahnimi, the head of a local hospital, said many of the injured also suffered panic attacks.

The earthquake struck western Iran near its border with Iraq, damaging buildings and sending fearful residents running into the streets.

The shake was also felt in northern Iraq where one was killed and 45 others were injured, joint crisis coordination center of Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) said on Twitter.

It hit near the town of 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.

That earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3 and also injured more than 9,000 people.

Sunday's temblor also downed power lines and caused brief 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 kilometers (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.

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. 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.

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