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Published On: Mon, Nov 13th, 2017

Massive 7.3 earthquake on Iran – Iraq border killed at least 355, thousands injured

nsnbc : A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale struck the region on the borders of Iraq and Iran Sunday evening. By Monday morning the death of 355 was confirmed but the death toll is expected to rise significantly as the region comes to grips with the disaster. 6,051 were reported as injured by 09:15 UTC.

Collapsed building in Sulaymaniya in Iraq's Kurdistan Autonomous Region. Aftershocks make it extremely dangerous for search and rescue workers to enter damaged structures.

Collapsed building in Sulaymaniya in Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region. Aftershocks make it extremely dangerous for search and rescue workers to enter damaged structures.

The official death toll rose by  more than a hundred, and the number of injured by over 4,000  while writing this report, and the numbers are most likely to increase over the coming hours. The quake with its epicenter near Halabja was felt even in Kuwait, Qatar, Azerbaijan and eastern Turkey.

The earthquake struck at approximately 20:33 (local time 19:33 UTC) in the evening. The shallow thrust fault quake with its epicenter near Halabja and the Zagros mountains happened in a region with significant historic seismic activity but with only few events of this size and magnitude.

The epicenter was located some 22.4 kilometers from Derbendixan, Iraq, 32.6 kilometers from Halabja, Iraq, with a population of 53,333, and 52.4 kilometers from Sarpol-e-Zarhab in Iran with a population of 51,611. The hypocenter was at a depth of about 22 kilometers.

There have been numerous catastrophic building failures and aftershocks are making it hard for people who want to evacuate as well as for search and rescue workers. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has issued directives to  the country’s civil defense teams and related institutions to preserve lives and conduct an extensive follow-up of the effects “of the earthquake that struck the country,” according to a statement from his office. Abadi wished “safety for all.”

The number of fatalities and the number of injured is expected to rise over the coming hours and days.

The number of fatalities and the number of injured is expected to rise over the coming hours and days.

In Iran’s heavily Kurdish populated western provinces, 129 people have been reported killed and up to 1,000 injured reported local media sources from the ground while Tehran reported 31 dead and 61 injured. The death toll and numer of injured is also likely to increase there.

Most of the destruction occurred in the provinces of Kermanshah and Illam. Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli emphasized mobilizing “all resources” in a phone call with the governor of Kermanshah. Fazli urged all relief organizations to urgently admit and treat patients, while promising to assist the injured.

Iranian Red Crescent workers have been deployed to the affected areas. Officials warned of further casualties due to the potentially damaged structures, and the loss of electricity, water, and communications.

CH/L – nsnbc 13.11.2017

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