7.3-magnitude earthquake kills 415 in Iran, Iraq
Tehran, Iran - Teams of Iranian rescuers dug through rubble in a hunt for survivors on Monday after a major earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing at least 415 people and injuring thousands.
The 7.3-magnitude quake rocked a border area 30km southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9.20pm on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.
Many people would have been at home when the quake hit in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, where authorities said it killed at least 407 people and injured 6,700.
Across the border in more sparsely populated areas of Iraq, the health ministry said eight persons had died and several hundred were injured.
As dusk approached on Monday, tens of thousands of Irani- ans were forced to sleep outside in the cold for a second night as authorities scrambled to provide them with aid.
Some had spent Sunday night outdoors after fleeing their homes in the mountainous cross-border region, huddling around fires at dawn as authorities sent in help.
“People’s immediate needs are firstly tents, water and food,” said the head of Iran’s elite Rev- olutionary Guards, Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari.
Hundreds of ambulances and dozens of army helicopters reportedly joined the rescue effort after Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the government and armed forces to mobilise ‘all their means’.
Officials said they were setting up relief camps for the displaced.
Rescue personnel conduct search and rescue work in Iran’s Kermanshah province on Monday