Preparedness and Emergency Response Aspects of Sarpol-e Zahab (Kermanshah), Iran Earthquake of November 12, 2017

Document Type : Risk Management


International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), Tehran


On November 12, 2017, at 9:48 p.m. (local time), a destructive earthquake (Ml=7.3) occurred in the border region between Iraq and Iran, followed by many weak to strong aftershocks. The earthquake claimed more than 620 lives with a further 10000 injured. At least eight cities including Qasr-e Shirin, Ezgeleh, Salas-e Babajani, Gilan-e Gharb, Sarpol-e Zahab, Dalahou, Eslamabad-e Gharb and Javanrud as well as around 2000 villages were damaged or affected severely by this earthquake and its aftershocks. Additionally, the earthquake was felt in many adjacent provinces and caused extreme fear and horror. Considering the time of earthquake and lack of appropriate damage assessment tools, it took fewhours to evaluate the location of the most stricken areas and to estimate the number of casualties. Moreover, due to the wide extent of damaged areas, the local needs were much higher than the existing resources and capacities. These issues caused delay in providing emergency response services and dispatching the rescue and relief teams to the affected areas. In this paper, the most important challenges in preparedness and emergency response aspects regarding this earthquake will be addressed and discussed. Lessons learnt and recommendations are provided based on the authors' field observation undertaken few days after the earthquake.


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