Iran quake: Six killed as giant tremor strikes

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A survivor stands amid the rubble on a street in Sarpol-e Zahab, north-western Iran

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 has struck north-western Iran, killing at least one person and injuring over 100, local officials say.

Some 500 people were left homeless in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, said local governor Faramarz Zandi.

A fierce aftershock, which had a magnitude of 6.6, hit shortly afterwards. A provincial disaster team was sent to the town.

The tremor struck around 2:15pm local time (07:15 BST) at a depth of 33km, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Qamishli Province’s governor Mohammad Jahan Baran told the ISNA news agency that one person had died in Sarpol-e Zahab and over 100 were injured.

Later, an official at the country’s official news agency IRNA reported that another death had been reported in the town, adding that approximately “1,500 people have been registered as homeless”.

IRNA said the quake damaged many of the homes in the city’s population of some 100,000, although it noted that better weather conditions in recent days had helped quell the fires that broke out in the aftermath of the initial tremor.

The Iranian government has offered disaster relief to those affected, including tents and blankets.

The quake hit close to the border with Iraq, when many people are at home for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

An Iranian cleric told Fars news agency that the roots of the damage lay in “abnormal movement” in the bedding in the houses of low- and middle-income families.

Iran sits on many of the key seismic fault lines of the world and a major quake is said to be only a matter of time.

The USGS estimates that a 7.0-magnitude quake along the Iranian-Iraqi border would kill an estimated 10,000 people.

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