Iran-Iraq Earthquake Death Toll Climbs to More Than 400
A powerful magnitude-7.3 earthquake rocked the northern border region between Iran and Iraq, killing more than 400 people and injuring thousands more.
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency has raised the death toll to 407 and said 6,700 people were injured after the quake that struck the country's western provinces at 9: 20 pm local time on Sunday. Tremors were felt hundreds of miles away in both capitals, in Tehran and Baghdad.
Local officials said the toll was likely to rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas. More than 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter, the Iranian Red Crescent said.
The hardest hit province was Kermanshah, where three days of mourning have been announced. More than 236 people died in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 10 miles from the Iraq border. In Kermanshah's Dalahu county, the local governor was quoted as saying that some villages had been completely destroyed.
"More than 150 million people in Iran and Iraq, and also in their capitals, felt this earthquake," said Mehdi Zare, of the Iranian Seismological Centre.
The quake killed at least seven people in Iraq and injured 535, all in the country's northern, semi-autonomous Kurdish region, the interior ministry said.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, offered his condolences and urged government agencies to do all they could to help those affected. Iranian police, the elite revolutionary guards and its affiliated Basij militia forces were dispatched to affected areas overnight, state TV reported.