7.3 Earthquake Strikes Iraq-Iran Border
Tim Stelloh and Michelle Acevedo and Rima Abdelkader and Yelena Dzhanova
A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday, killing at least four and injuring 60, officials said.
The Iraqi Meteorological and Seismology Organization warned that the country should brace for another possible quake in the coming hours.
The United States Geological Survey said the temblor occurred at 9:18 p.m. local time (1:18 p.m. ET). The USGS measured the quake at a magnitude 7.3, while Iraq’s state geologists said it was 7.5.
The health directorate in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, said that the dead and wounded were in that country’s northern Kurdish region.
Citing an Iranian emergency services official speaking on state television, The Associated Press and Reuters reported that 61 people were killed and 300 were injured on that country’s side of the border. NBC News has not independently confirmed these reports.
Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southhampton, said that in a region where temblors are common, Sunday’s quake appeared to be the largest in “a long time.”
Like most of those other temblors, this one was shallow, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the USGS’s National Earthquake Information Center.
No large cities were near the epicenter, Blakeman said, though NBC News producers in the region said it was felt as far away as Tehran and Baghdad, which are roughly 460 miles and 170 miles from the epicenter, respectively.
Still, Blakeman added, the region has many towns and villages.
“Without a doubt,” he said, there would likely be serious damage and possible casualties.
At her home in Irbil, roughly 170 miles northwest of the epicenter, Lana Serwan said the temblor lasted for a minute.
“Everything was shaking,” Serwan, 35, said.
Another Irbil resident, 26-year-old Manar Ksebeh, said he was in his 12th-floor apartment when he heard people running and shouting. So he fled down his building’s stairwell.
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t feeling dizzy,” Ksebeh said.
Video footage from Sulaymānīyah, Iraq — 48 miles southeast of the epicenter — showed people fleeing a coffee shop as a glass door appeared to break. Video posted to social media showed a swinging chandelier in an apartment in Israel and people who evacuated high-rise buildings in Kuwait lining the streets.
Thirteen miles from the epicenter, in Derbendîxan, Iraq, video showed a collapsed home.
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