By Parisa Hafezi
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Sunday that no fatalities had been reported but that more than 400 people were injured after an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck near its western border with Iraq, Iranian state TV reported.
The tremor was also felt in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and in Kuwait.
“We have had 411 injured, 80 percent of whom have been treated and released … No fatalities have been reported,” Houshang Bazvand, governor of the western province of Kermanshah, told state TV.
Fears of aftershocks sent people in several cities in Kermanshah province out onto the streets and parks in cold weather, Iranian media reported. Rescue teams were immediately deployed to the quake-hit area.
“No reports of any fatalities yet and most of the injured were hurt while fleeing, not due to quake damage,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s emergency services, told state TV.
State TV reported minor damage at some buildings in the area. The quake triggered landslides but officials said all the roads in the area remained open to traffic and that electricity had been restored in most of areas hit by the tremor.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake occurred at a depth of 65 km (40 miles) and struck 114 km northwest of the city of Ilam, close to Iran’s border with Iraq.
Iranian media said tremors were felt in at least seven provinces of Iran, most strongly in Kermanshah province, where last year over 600 people were killed and thousands injured in Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade.
Local officials said reconstruction undertaken after that strong quake should mean there would not be casualties in the area, where some people still remain homeless following last year’s tremor.
Kermanshah governor Bazvand said more than 200 people were injured in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 15 km (10 miles) from the border, near the quake’s epicentre.
The Iraqi Geological Survey said the quake had been felt in Baghdad, where the interior ministry said no damage or casualties were reported, Erbil in the Kurdistan region, and other Iraqi provinces.
The quake was felt in some areas of Kuwait but no damage was reported, state news agency Kuna said.
“Fortunately, the quake was not near bigger cities. But it might have caused damage in villages and I hope not that many villages are located where it hit,” Ali Moradi, head of Iran’s seismology centre, told state TV.
Iran sits astride major fault lines and is prone to frequent tremors. Last November, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit the Kermanshah province. In 2003, a quake of a magnitude of 6.6 in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the historic city of Bam.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom, Hesham Hajali in Cairo, Ahmed Rasheed in Iraq; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Catherine Evans)