Deadly Quake Kills More Than 400 Iranians
TEHRAN - A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake s hit the border region between Iran and Iraq, killing 407 people, almost all of them in Iran.
The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at around 09:18 pm local time on Sunday, was 32 kilometers south of the Iraqi city of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan, and just across the border from Iran, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). But the highest casualties occurred in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, in Iran’s Kermanshah Province. According to official tallies, 4o7 Iranians were confirmed dead as of Monday afternoon as it is expected the figure to increase. Over 7,100 other were also injured.
Damage is seen in the Iranian town of Qasr-e Shirin, in Kermanshah Province, after a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake, on November 12, 2017.
The National Disaster Management Organization of Iran said earlier that power cuts had been reported in Kermanshah Province. A number of villages in western Iran have also seen destruction of varying degrees.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on the phone with Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli on Sunday night, who briefed the president on the latest updates. President Rouhani then issued the necessary directives to facilitate and accelerate rescue operations. Three days of mourning have been announced in Kermanshah. The earthquake was felt in cities in several other Iranian provinces, including as far away as in the capital, Tehran. The quake also shook the Iranian provinces of Kordestan, Ilam, Khuzestan, Hamedan, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Lorestan, Qazvin, Zanjan, and Qom.
Tremors were felt in other regional countries, including Turkey, Kuwait, Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain. But the casualties and damage were limited to Iran and Iraq. Rahmani-Fazli, the interior minister and Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi have already flown to Kermanshah to personally supervise the rescue operations.
The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, also traveled to the region. First responders have been using sniffer dogs to look for potential survivors under the rubble. Hospitals in Tehran have been put on alert to treat those of the wounded who are transferred to the capital. At least 43 ambulances, four ambulance buses, and 130 emergency technicians have been stationed in the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran for a quick transfer of the victims to hospitals.
Over 100 medics have also been dispatched to the affected areas. The Iranian Air Force, too, has deployed helicopters to accelerate the transfer of the wounded.
Meanwhile, foreign dignitaries have been offering condolences to and sympathies with the Iranian government and people over the earthquake.