Iran quake kills two, hurts 310

LIGHT DAMAGE::The earthquake was followed by 21 aftershocks and cut power to 70 villages, officials said, adding that it had not yet been necessary to distribute food


Mon, Aug 27, 2018 - Page 4

A strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck western Iran near the border with Iraq early yesterday, killing two people and injuring at least 310, officials said.

The shallow quake hit 26km southwest of the city of Javanrud in Kermanshah Province, the US Geological Survey said, near the site of a powerful quake last year that killed hundreds.

Saeb Sharidari, the head of the emergency department at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, had earlier told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that two people were killed and 241 injured, six critically.

Sharidari said the two dead were a pregnant woman and a 70-year-old man who suffered a heart attack.

IRNA quoted local officials as saying that electricity had been cut to 70 villages, but that it was restored to at least 50 by dawn.

Red Crescent provincial director Mohammad Reza Amirian said there had been at least 21 aftershocks.

He said there were potential problems with drinking water due to damaged infrastructure in villages, but that it had not yet been necessary to distribute food and tents.

Kermanshah Governor Houshang Bazvand told the Tasnim news agency that electricity had been temporarily cut to several villages.

A crisis center was set up, with hospitals and relief organizations placed on alert.

However, the local director of crisis management, Reza Mahmoudian, told the Mehr news agency that “the situation was under control” and no request for help had been sent to neighboring provinces.

There were reports that the quake was felt far across the border into Iraq.

Images on social media showed people being rushed to hospitals, but suggested relatively light damage to infrastructure.

Iran sits on top of two major tectonic plates and sees frequent seismic activity.

Kermanshah was still recovering from a devastating magnitude 7.3 quake that struck in November last year, killing 620 people in the province and another eight people in Iraq.

That quake left more than 12,000 people injured and damaged about 30,000 houses, leaving huge numbers homeless at the start of the cold season in the mountainous region.

There was criticism that much of the new social housing built as part of a scheme championed by former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had failed to withstand the earthquake.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said those responsible would be held to account.

Iran’s deadliest quake in the recent past was a magnitude 6.6 earthquake that struck the southeast in 2003, decimating the ancient mud-brick city of Bam and killing at least 31,000 people.

In 1990, a magnitude 7.4 quake in northern Iran killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless, reducing dozens of towns and nearly 2,000 villages to rubble.