Earthquake Near Iran-Iraq Border Kills More than 430, I…

Tim Stelloh and Alex Johnson and Michelle Acevedo and Rima Abdelkader and Yelena Dzhanova and Associated Press

At least 437 people were killed and more than 7,600 others injured after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near Iran’s border with Iraq, authorities said Monday.

In Iran, rescuers who worked through dozens of aftershocks and were hindered by landslides ended their efforts late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, the country’s top emergency management official, Pir-Hossein Kolivand said, according to Reuters.

Many houses in rural areas of Iran are made of mud bricks that can crumble easily in a quake.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency in Iran said the quake killed 430 people and injured at least 7,100. And Iraq’s Interior Ministry confirmed that seven people in the neighboring country were killed by the quake, with 535 people wounded.

Other reports put the death toll in Iran at more than 450.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was recorded at 9:18 p.m. local time (1:18 p.m. ET) Sunday. It measured the quake at a magnitude 7.3.

It was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast. The quake’s worst damage appeared to be in the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, told The Associated Press she could only flee empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed.

“Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed,” Fard said. “I have no access to my belongings.”

The head of Iranian Red Crescent said more than 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter.

Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton in England, said that in a region where earthquakes are common, Sunday’s quake appeared to be the largest in “a long time.”




Image: Relatives weep over the body of an earthquake victim

Relatives weep over the body of an earthquake victim in Sarpol-e-Zahab, Iran on Monday.