Iran’s Kermanshah Hit by Strong Magnitude 6 Earthquake

A magnitude-6 earthquake has once again struck an area near the Iran-Iraq border in the Iranian province of Kermanshah one month after another massive quake killed over 600 people at the same place, Iran Front Page reports.

According to the Iranian Seismological Center, the epicenter of the quake was about 10 km deep. It struck the area of Azgaleh in Kermanshah province at around 17:39 local time on Monday. The closest cities in the area are Azgaleh, 26km and Nowsood, 38km away from the epicentre and the provincial capital city of Kermanshah is 143 km away. No damages or casualties have been reported yet.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that the quake was most strongly felt in the Ozgoleh region of the western Kermanshah province. The quake was also reportedly felt by residents of Iran’s Kurdistan and Western Azerbaijan provinces.

Monday’s tremor sparked panic among the population of Kermanshah, causing heavy traffic in the city as citizens rushed to the street, local media reported. The area has seen some 1,200 aftershocks since last month, most of them below magnitude 4, Mehr News Agency reported on Saturday.

While Iranian media reported the quake at 6.0 magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measured it at magnitude at 5.4. The USGS said that the quake struck Halabjah, Iraq at 10:09 p.m. (local time) and had a depth of 17km. Chief of Crisis Management of Kermanshah province, Reza Mahmoudian, told Tasnim news agency that “there has been no report of casualties or damage in the cities or villages of Kermanshah so far”.

Iran is prone to near-daily quakes as it sits on major fault lines. Iran is located on top of two major tectonic plates and sees frequent seismic activity. In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

Back on November 12, another massive earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale had rattled the same spot in Kermanshah province and killed at least 620 people. State media said the epicenter of the December 11 earthquake was near the town of Ezgele, but tremors were also felt in Kermanshah, the largest city in the area.

Meanwhile, as winter weather conditions arrive, the situation has worsened for the affected people in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, Kermanshah in East or Iranian Kurdistan living beside the rubble of their homes after the province was hit by last month’s quake.

The border area is mountainous and temperatures have recently dropped and brought snow. According to the latest figures, the death toll in last month’s earthquake has risen to 579 after more victims continue to be identified. The bodies of ten people were recently identified, Artin Kamali, director general of Kermanshah Legal Medicine Organization, told IRNA on Saturday.

“Some 518 dead were from Sarpol-e Zahab,” Kamali explained.

Poor quality construction of low-income housing is being blamed for the high death toll of the mostly Kurdish population who has accused Iranian government authorities of failing to provide timely assistance.

France-based right monitor Kurdistan Human Rights Network stated on Friday that the “majority of earthquake-stricken people of Kermanshah are still in need of temporary accommodation three weeks after the earthquake.”  The Iranian Red Crescent stated in a report on Tuesday that they have provided over 83,000 tents, saying “the immediate shelter and tent needs of the target population are met.”