Iran-Iraq border earthquake death toll tops 200, Iran s…
TEHRAN, Iran — A powerful earthquake shook the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday, killing some 200 people and injuring 1,686 in the mountainous region of Iran alone, Iranian state media said.
The Baghdad government did not immediately give word on damage or casualties in that country.
Iranian state TV also said Iraqi officials reported at least six people dead inside Iraq, along with more than 50 people injured in Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 in the town of Khanaquin.
The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at a depth of 14.4 miles, a shallow depth that can result in broad damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes in general are capable of widespread, heavy damage.
The quake was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast. Its worst damage appeared to be in Iran’s western Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq. Residents in the rural area rely mainly on farming to make a living.
The shaker was also felt in parts of Turkey and Israel, the Reuters news agency reports.
Electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, Reuters says, adding that Iran’s military was called on to help rescue efforts.
Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes into the night. Some 50 aftershocks followed.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said rescue work was continuing overnight and would accelerate during the daytime.
“The night has made it difficult for helicopters to fly to the affected areas and some roads are also cut off… we are worried about remote villages,” Reuters quotes Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli as saying in an interview on state television.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported.
The semi-official ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake.
Officials announced that schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces would be closed Monday because of the temblor.
Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. The last major casualty earthquake in Iran struck in East Azerbaijan province in August 2012, killing over 300 people.
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