EARTH­QUAKE KILLS 330 IN IRAN, IRAQ

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - ASSOCIATED PRESS

A pow­er­ful 7.3 mag­ni­tude earth­quake on Mon­day struck the Iraq-Iran bor­der killing over 330 peo­ple in both coun­tries, au­thor­i­ties re­ported.

Apow­er­ful 7.3 mag­ni­tude earth­quake that struck the Iraq-Iran bor­der re­gion killed over 330 peo­ple in both coun­tries, sent peo­ple flee­ing their homes into the night and was felt as far west as the Mediter­ranean coast, au­thor­i­ties re­ported on Mon­day.

Iran’s western Ker­man­shah prov­ince bore the brunt of the tem­blor, with Iran’s state-run news agency re­port­ing the quake killed 328 peo­ple in the coun­try. State tele­vi­sion said some 3,950 were in­jured. The area is a ru­ral, moun­tain­ous re­gion where res­i­dents rely mainly on farm­ing to make a liv­ing. In Iraq, the earth­quake killed at least seven peo­ple and in­jured 535 there, all in the coun­try's north­ern, semi­au­tonomous Kur­dish re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Iraq's In­te­rior Min­istry.

The mag­ni­tude 7.3 quake was cen­tered 19 miles (31 kilo­me­ters) out­side the east­ern Iraqi city of Hal­abja, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent mea­sure­ments from the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey. It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilo­me­ters (14.4 miles), a shal­low depth that can have broader dam­age. Mag­ni­tude 7 earth­quakes on their own are ca­pa­ble of wide­spread, heavy dam­age.

Ira­nian so­cial me­dia and news agen­cies showed im­ages and videos of peo­ple flee­ing their homes into the night. More than 100 af­ter­shocks fol­lowed. 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-yearold house­wife in Sar­pol-eZa­hab, said she could only flee 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.” Reza Mo­ham­madi, 51, said he and his fam­ily ran out into the al­ley fol­low­ing the first shock he felt. “I tried to get back to pick some stuff but it to­tally col­lapsed in the sec­ond wave,” Mo­ham­madi said. Those in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab also said the power and wa­ter were out in the town as tele­phone and cell­phone lines were spotty.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei of­fered his con­do­lences on Mon­day morn­ing and urged res­cuers and all gov­ern­ment agen­cies to do all they could to help those af­fected, state me­dia re­ported. The semi-of­fi­cial ILNA news agency said at least 14 prov­inces in Iran had been af­fected by the earth­quake.

Of­fi­cials an­nounced that schools in Ker­man­shah and Ilam prov­inces would be closed on Mon­day be­cause of the tem­blor. In Iraq, Prime Min­is­ter Haider alAbadi is­sued a direc­tive for the coun­try’s civil de­fence teams and “re­lated in­sti­tu­tions” to re­spond to the nat­u­ral dis­as­ter. Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, an In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman, gave the ca­su­alty fig­ures for Iraq.

The quake could be felt across Iraq, shak­ing build­ings and homes from Ir­bil to Bagh­dad, where peo­ple fled into the streets of the cap­i­tal. The Iraqi city of Hal­abja, clos­est to the epi­cen­ter, is no­to­ri­ous for the 1988 chem­i­cal at­tack in which Sad­dam Hus­sein's regime killed some 5,000 peo­ple with mus­tard gas — the dead­li­est chem­i­cal weapons at­tack ever against civil­ians.

Iraqi seis­mol­o­gist Ab­dulKarim Ab­dul­lah Taqi, who runs the earth­quake mon­i­tor­ing group at the state-run Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment, said the main rea­son for the lower ca­su­alty fig­ure in Iraq was the an­gle and the di­rec­tion of the fault line in this par­tic­u­lar quake, as well as the na­ture of the Iraqi ge­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tions that could bet­ter ab­sorb the shocks. Turkey dis­patched emer­gency aid to north­ern Iraq as of­fi­cials ex­pressed their “deep sad­ness” at the tragedy. Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim said his coun­try took im­me­di­ate ac­tion to pro­vide med­i­cal and food aid to north­ern Iraq.

Kerem Kinik, Turk­ish Red Cres­cent’s vice pres­i­dent, told The Associated Press from Habur bor­der cross­ing that 33 aid trucks were en route to Iraq’s city of Su­laimaniyah, car­ry­ing tents, heaters, beds and blan­kets as well as food.

Iran has re­ported that the quake killed 328 peo­ple, while in Iraq the toll is 7 peo­ple and in­jured 535

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