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|Date||12 November 2017|
|Origin time||18:18:18 UTC|
|Depth||19.0 km (12 mi)|
|Fault||Arabian and Eurasian plates|
|Max. intensity||VIII (Severe)|
On 12 November 2017 at 18:18 UTC (21:48 Iran Standard Time, 21:18 Arabia Standard Time), an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.3 occurred on the Iran–Iraq border, just inside Iran, in Ezgeleh, Salas-e Babajani County, Kermanshah Province, with an epicentre approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city of Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan.
It was felt as far away as Israel and the United Arab Emirates. With at least 630 people killed (mostly in Iran and including at least 10 in Iraq), and more than 8,100 injured, as well as many more unaccounted for, it was the deadliest earthquake of 2017.
The earthquake was located within the Zagros fold and thrust belt, part of the broad and complex zone of continental collision between the Arabian and Eurasian Plates. At this location, the relative convergence of the plates is about 26 mm per year. The convergence is quite oblique to the Zagros belt, although it is partitioned into orthogonal dip-slip motion within the active thrust belt and dextral (right lateral) strike-slip motion along the Main Recent Fault to the northeast of the Zagros Mountains.
The earthquake occurred near the Iran–Iraq border, approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi) northeast of Baghdad. According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake measured 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale and was caused by movement on a thrust fault dipping at a shallow angle to the northeast. The epicentre was at a depth of 19.0 kilometres (11.8 mi), and the maximum perceived intensity was VIII (severe shaking) on the Mercalli intensity scale.
This was the strongest earthquake recorded in the region since a 6.1 Mw event in January 1967, which was part of a series of strong earthquakes along the plate boundary in the 1950s and 1960s. The earthquake was felt throughout the Middle East and as far away as Israel, the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey. The Iranian seismological centre registered at least 50 aftershocks within a few hours of the earthquake.
The province of Kermanshah was the most affected area, with the cities of Halabja, Iraq and Sarpol-e Zahab being the hardest-hit. Ezgeleh was the nearest city to the epicentre of the earthquake. More than half of the Iranian casualties were from Sarpol-e-Zahab and the Ezgeleh District, which have a combined population of over 30,000. Officials announced that schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces would be closed following the quake.
630 people died. More than 7,000 others were injured. In Sarpol-e Zahab, the hospital was damaged and at least 142 people were killed, many who had lived in social housing complexes built by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At least seven people were killed and another 500 injured in neighbouring Iraq, according to officials in Iraqi Kurdistan. Further damages were seen as possible due to the threat of landslides induced by the shallow depth of the earthquake.
The earthquake left about 70,000 people homeless across 14 Iranian provinces, destroying approximately 12,000 homes and damaging another 15,000. Relief camps in Iran distributed 22,000 tents and 52,000 blankets in the days after the earthquake. On 17 November, the Iranian government announced that the disaster has caused at least €5 billion of damage.
In Sarpol-e Zahab, some residents blamed the widespread destruction on poor construction quality and government corruption. It was noted that older buildings remained standing, while many newer blocks collapsed.
Turkey was the first country to offer aid, through its Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, announcing that 92 rescue personnel were on standby, together with 4,000 tents and 7,000 blankets.
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc was ready to cooperate with Iran in providing emergency relief aid, and Italy's government issued orders to send 12 tonnes of tents, blankets and mobile kitchens on 13 November.
On 14 November, Iranian minister of foreign affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his gratitude for all the sympathy and offers of assistance Iran has received but declared that his country can manage the situation with its own resources for the time being.
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