At least 328 dead, over 2500 injured after 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Iran-Iraq border
At least 328 dead, over 2,500 injured after 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Iran-Iraq border
The US Geological Survey said the quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.world Updated: Nov 13, 2017 14:14 IST Reuters, Baghdad/Ankara 1/7
Survivors warm themselves in front of destroyed buildings after an earthquake at the city of Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran. A powerful earthquake shook the Iran-Iraq border, killing more than 200 people and injuring over 1,700 in the mountainous region of Iran alone, state media there said. Some 50 aftershocks have followed. Baghdad did not immediately release information about damage or casualties in Iraq. (Pouria Pakizeh / ISNA via AP)
At least 328 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Iranâs Kermanshah province on the Iraqi border, the Students News agency ISNA reported on Monday.
ISNA quoted the coronerâs office in the province as saying that the death toll was expected to increase.
A quake registering a magnitude between 7 and 7.9 can inflict widespread and heavy damage. Moreover, many houses in rural areas of Iran are made of mud bricks that can crumble easily in a quake.
The earthquake was felt in several provinces of Iran but the hardest hit province was Kermanshah, which announced three days of mourning.
More than 142 of the victims were in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, about 15 km (10 miles) from the Iraq border.
The main hospital of the capital of the county was severely damaged and could not treat hundreds of injured people who were taken there, the head of the Iranian emergency services, Pirhossein Koulivand said.
The US Geological Survey said the quake measured magnitude 7.3. An Iraqi meteorology official put its magnitude at 6.5 with the epicentre in Penjwin in Sulaimaniyah provi nce in the Kurdistan region close to the main border crossing with Iran.
Kurdish health officials said at least four people were killed in Iraq and at least 50 injured.
The quake was felt as far south as Baghdad, where many residents rushed from their houses and tall buildings when tremors shook the Iraqi capital.
âI was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,â said Majida Ameer, who ran out of her building in the capitalâs Salihiya district with her three children. âI thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming: âEarthquake!ââ
Similar scenes unfolded in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, and across other cities in northern Iraq, close to the quakeâs epicentre.
Electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and park s in cold weather.
The Iranian seismological centre registered around 50 aftershocks and said more were expected.
The head of Iranian Red Crescent said more than 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said some roads were blocked and were worried about casualties in remote villages. The Iranian armed forces have been deployed to help the emergency services.
An Iranian oil official said pipelines and refineries in the area remained intact.
Iran sits astride major fault lines and is prone to frequent tremors. A magnitude 6.6 quake on Dec. 26, devastated the historic city of Bam, 1,000 km (600 miles) southeast of Tehran, killing about 31,000 people.
Hospital severely damaged
On the Iraqi side, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan, 75 km (47 miles) east of the city of Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
More than 30 people were injured in t he town, according to Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed.
âThe situation there is very critical,â Rasheed told Reuters.
The districtâs main hospital was severely damaged and had no power, Rasheed said, so the injured were taken to Sulaimaniyah for treatment. Homes and buildings had extensive structural damage, he said.
In Halabja, local officials said a 12-year-old boy died of an electric shock from a falling electric cable.
Iraqâs meteorology centre advised people to stay away from buildings and not to use elevators, in case of aftershocks.
Turkey and Israel
Residents of Turkeyâs southeastern city of Diyarbakir also reported feeling a strong tremor, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in the city.
Turkish Red Crescent Chairman Kerem Kinik told broadcaster NTV that Red Crescent teams in Erbil were preparing to go to the site of the earthquake, and that Turkeyâs national disaster management agency, AFAD, and National Medical Rescue Teams (UMKE) were also preparing to head into Iraq. AFADâs chairman said the organisation was waiting for a reply to its offer for help.
In a tweet, Kinik said the Turkish Red Crescent was gathering 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and moving them towards the Iraqi border.
âWe are coordinating with Iranian and Iraqi Red Crescent groups. We are also getting prepared to make deliveries from our northern Iraq Erbil depot,â he said.
Israeli media said the quake was felt in many parts of Israel as well.Source: Google News