ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A magnitude 6.3 earthquake shook areas near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday evening, with aftershocks still being felt in some cities and towns in the Kurdistan Region.
The quake hit at around 7:37 p.m. (GMT+3), with the center lying at a 20-kilometer distance southwest of Sarpol-e Zahab (Sarpel) in Kermanshah (Kermashan) Province in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat), the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.
The shocks were felt in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as far away as the capitals of Baghdad and Erbil. In cities near the border with Iran, people were prompted to leave their homes.
“There has only been material damage reported in Kermashan,” but “unfortunately, there have been casualties in Sarpel,” a source from the city told Kurdistan 24, citing local reports.
According to Kermashan province’s governor, 160 people have been injured in three cities in the region due to the earthquake.
“In Gilan-e Gharb 55 people, in Qasr-e Shirin 50, and in Sarpel 55 others have been injured,” Governor Hoshang Bazwand told Mehr News Agency.
Reports indicate nearly 100 casualties in the Kurdistan Region’s cities of Kalar and Kifri and the disputed city of Khanaqin.
“Very sadly, one of the injured [people] just passed away in the hospital, and the number of people raised to 43 affected civilians” in Kalar, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Join Crisis Coordination Center wrote in a tweet.
A medical source from one of the hospitals tending to the people in Kalar told Kurdistan 24 that most of the cases were individuals who suffered a scare from the earthquake and experienced panic attacks.
A video taken at the moment of the tremor shows residents from the Kurdistan Region’s Garmiyan area leave their homes and pour on to the streets in fear of aftershocks.
In August, another earthquake took place in Kermashan, resulting in the death and injury of over 200 people.
In late July, a quake with the same strength hit the province leaving over 150 casualties. Another 5.1 on the Richter scale in April injured at least 38 according to early reports.
The strongest in recent years was a 7.3 tremor in November 2017 that encompassed whole areas in the Kurdistan Region and Rojhilat. According to reports then, the quake resulted in the death of 630, injury to over 8,100, and left tens of thousands homeless.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany