THE Philippines yesterday expressed its sympathies to Iran and Iraq after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake
struck the northern Kurdish regions of both countries, killing more than a hundred people and injuring
more than a thousand. (See story on p.6)
Both the Philippine Embassies in Baghdad and Tehran have reported that so far there are no
Filipinos among the dead or injured, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
“The people of the affected areas of Iran and Iraq are in our thoughts and prayers today,”
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy,”
The Philippine Embassy in Baghdad said the earthquake, which struck at around 9:20 pm (2:20 am
in Manila), was centered near the city of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The earthquake also affected Kurdish areas of Iran, including the cities of Sarpol and Ilam,
according to Ambassador to Tehran Wilfredo Santos. He said the eight Filipino-Iranians residing in
Ilam are all safe.
The tremor, which was also felt in Baghdad, about 350 kilometers south of Halabja, caused
some minor damage to the Embassy, according to Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato.
He said the temblor also sent some of the 3,000 Filipinos in Kurdistan spilling into the
streets. A two-member team from the Embassy that has been stationed in Erbil also had to rush out of
the hotel they were staying in.