Saturday 21 July 2018

Rescuers search for survivors after more than 400 killed in Iran-Iraq border earthquake

Iranians mourn over the body of a victim following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images
Iranians mourn over the body of a victim following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images
People including rescue personnel conduct search and rescue work following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake at Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province on November 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ISNA / POURIA PAKIZEHPOURIA PAKIZEH/AFP/Getty Images
A man reacts following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017. AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images
Residents look at the damage following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images

Nasser Karimi and Mohammad Nasiri

Rescuers are digging through the debris of buildings in the search for survivors after an earthquake in the border region of Iran and Iraq killed more than 430 people.

The magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck on Sunday night Iran time, just as people were going to bed.

The IRNA news agency said on Tuesday morning that the number of injured has risen to 7,156.

More than half of the casualties are from the Kurdish-majority town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries.

Residents look at the damage following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images
Residents look at the damage following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images

The town suffered severe damage including to its only hospital and the army has set up field hospitals.

Residents fled without time to grab their possessions as apartment complexes collapsed into rubble. Outside walls of some buildings were sheared off, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted.

A man reacts following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017.
AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images
A man reacts following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's western province of Kermanshah on November 13, 2017. AFP PHOTO / TASNIM NEWS / Farzad MENATIFARZAD MENATI/AFP/Getty Images

The quake was centred 19 miles (31km) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, the US Geological Survey said.

It could be felt on the Mediterranean coast, some 660 miles (1,000km) away

A damaged van and buildings are seen following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake at Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province on November 13, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / ISNA / POURIA PAKIZEHPOURIA PAKIZEH/AFP/Getty Images
A damaged van and buildings are seen following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake at Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province on November 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ISNA / POURIA PAKIZEHPOURIA PAKIZEH/AFP/Getty Images

Iran's government declared Tuesday as a national mourning day.

President Hassan Rouhani, who was visiting the area of Tuesday, promised to rebuild the devastated area in the "shortest" timespan possible and said his administration plans to support reconstruction with both handouts and loans.

Italy is sending 12 tons of tents, blankets, mobile kitchens and other assistance to victims.

The Foreign Ministry said an Italian plane loaded with the aid would be leaving the UN's regional emergency warehouse base in Brindisi, bound for Sulaimaniyah, Iraq.

Separately, the ministry said it was working on a financial aid package for Iran to be funnelled through the Red Crescent, which is working on the ground.

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. In 2012, a major casualty earthquake killed more than 300.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News