At least 400 people were killed and more than 7000 were injured after year’s deadliest earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck Iran’s mountainous border with Iraq.
A massive search and rescue operation was underway and teams were looking for survivors buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Most of the deaths have occurred on the in western Iran’s Sarpol-e-Zahab town and nearby areas in Kermanshah province.
According to a UN official, 9 people have died while more than 500 others were injured in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region.
The quake was centered in Halabja, southeast of Sulaymaniyah, a city in the Kurdish region of Iraq at 9:48 PM local time on Sunday and had a depth of 33.9 kilometres (21 miles), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The tremors of the massive earthquake were felt as far away as Turkey, Israel, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes. More than 100 aftershocks followed. A one year baby was mircalously rescued by a young biy from the rubble of collpased buidling.
— Ali Al Shouk (@alialshouk) November 12, 2017
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, said she fled 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.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported.
President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to tour earthquake-damaged areas Tuesday.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a directive for the country’s civil defense teams and “related institutions” to respond to the natural disaster. Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, gave the casualty figures for Iraq.