1218 GMT December 16, 2019
More than 700 people were injured, most suffering minor injuries, in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that shook western Iran late Sunday.
The quake was felt in at least seven provinces, but most strongly in Kermanshah Province. Its epicenter was 17 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of the city of Sarpol-e Zahab, according to the institute of geophysics.
President Hassan Rouhani said no effort should be spared to help victims of the earthquake.
“Rouhani has ordered officials to do whatever is necessary to provide help for the victims of the earthquake,” state television reported.
State TV, citing emergency services, said that 729 people had been injured, but there were no reports of deaths or major damage. It showed images of cracked walls inside homes, but said that only 37 of those injured remained in hospital on Monday morning.
TV aired footage of damaged houses in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab where some people remain homeless following last year’s 7.3 magnitude quake.
Fears of aftershocks forced many people to spend the night out on the streets in cold weather. The quake triggered landslides in some areas, but Iranian authorities said rescue teams had access to all towns and villages.
The initial quake, around seven kilometers deep, was followed by more than 160 aftershocks including one with a magnitude of 5.2.
Dozens of rescue teams and several rescue dogs were deployed to the region.
Morteza Salimi, an official with Iran's Red Crescent Society, said most of Sunday's casualties had been injured in a stampede sparked by the first tremors.
He said the quake had rocked areas newly rebuilt after the tremor last November that killed 620 people and injured thousands more in Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade.
Sunday's temblor also downed power lines and caused brief power outages into the night as temperatures hovered around 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit).
The tremor was also felt in Kuwait and the Iraqi capital Baghdad as well as in Erbil in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region where two people died.
Iran sits on top of two major tectonic plates and sees frequent seismic activity.
In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude tremor struck the southeast of the country, decimating the ancient mud-brick city of Bam and killing at least 31,000 people.
The country's deadliest such incident was a 7.4-magnitude quake in 1990 that killed 40,000 people in northern Iran, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless.
AFP, Reuters and AP contributed to this story.