The toll in the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that hit the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday night has now risen to at least 414 – all but seven in Iran alone. Over 6,700 were injured in Iran, state-owned Irna news agency reported. The toll is expected to rise further as aftershocks continue to strike the region.
The number of the injured was 535 in Iraq, The Guardian reported, quoting the country’s Interior Ministry.
Most of the casualties were in western Iran’s Kermanshah province. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has urged the military and civil forces to go all out and help the affected families. More than 70,000 people are in need of emergency shelter, aid organisation Iranian Red Crescent said, according to The Guardian.
Earlier, Mojtaba Nikkerdar, the deputy governor of Kermanshah province, said there were still people trapped under the rubble. “We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will,” he added.
Power cuts were reported in the province, according to the National Disaster Management Organization of Iran. The authorities have declared three days of mourning in Kermanshah.
The powerful earthquake struck 30 km southwest of Halabja in the Kurdish region in North Iraq around 9.20 pm on Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey. Tremors were felt even in Qatar and Turkey.
Officials told AFP that landslides triggered by the quake were hindering their rescue efforts. Power cuts, too, are affecting their work in several towns.
Iran is one of the world’s most seismically active countries as it it located over several major fault lines. In 2003, more than 26,000 people were killed after an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck Southeast Iran, destroying the historic city of Bam.