China of­fers aid to Iran, Iraq

7.3-mag­ni­tude quake kills over 300, in­jures thou­sands

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS -

China said on Mon­day that it has been closely mon­i­tor­ing de­vel­op­ments fol­low­ing the 7.3-mag­ni­tude earth­quake along the Iran-Iraq bor­der that has killed more than 300 and in­jured thou­sands, adding that the coun­try will of­fer timely as­sis­tance based on ac­tual needs.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has launched an ur­gent hu­man­i­tar­ian re­sponse sys­tem and will of­fer as­sis­tance based on the ac­tual needs of Iraq and Iran, read a no­tice posted on the web­site of China’s Min­istry of Com­merce on Mon­day.

More than 348 peo­ple were killed in Iran and 6,600 were in­jured, while six have died in Iraq as well, Reuters re­ported.

The earth­quake was felt in sev­eral western prov­inces of Iran, but the hard­est hit prov­ince was Ker­man­shah, which an­nounced three days of mourn­ing. More than 236 of the vic­tims were in Sar­pol-e Za­hab county in Ker­man­shah prov­ince, about 15 kilo­me­ters from the Iraqi bor­der.

Ira­nian state tele­vi­sion said the quake had caused heavy dam­age in some vil­lages where houses were made of earthen bricks. Res­cuers were strug­gling to find sur­vivors trapped un­der col­lapsed build­ings.

The quake also trig­gered land­slides that hin­dered res­cue ef­forts, of­fi­cials told Ira­nian state tele­vi­sion. At least 14 prov­inces in Iran had been af­fected, Ira­nian me­dia re­ported.

The US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey said the quake mea­sured mag­ni­tude 7.3. An Iraqi me­te­o­rol­ogy of­fi­cial put the quake’s mag- ni­tude at 6.5 with the epi­cen­ter in Pen­jwin in Su­laimaniyah prov­ince in the Kur­dis­tan re­gion, close to the main bor­der cross­ing with Iran.

Kur­dish health of­fi­cials said at least six peo­ple were killed in Iraq with at least 68 in­jured. Iraq’s health and lo­cal of­fi­cials said the worst-hit area was Dar­bandikham dis­trict, near the bor­der with Iran, where at least 10 houses had col­lapsed and the dis­trict’s only hospi­tal was se­verely dam­aged.

Elec­tric­ity was cut off in sev­eral Ira­nian and Iraqi cities, and fears of af­ter­shocks sent thou­sands of peo­ple in both coun­tries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.

The Ira­nian seis­mo­log­i­cal cen­ter reg­is­tered around 118 af­ter­shocks and said more were ex­pected. The head of the Ira­nian Red Cres­cent said more than 70,000 peo­ple were in need of emer­gency shel­ter.

Iran is one of the most seis­mi­cally ac­tive coun­tries in the world, be­ing crossed by sev­eral ma­jor fault lines that cover at least 90 per­cent of the coun­try. As a re­sult, de­struc­tive earth­quakes in Iran oc­cur con­stantly.

The dead­li­est quake in Iran’s mod­ern his­tory hap­pened in June 1990. It de­stroyed the north­ern cities of Rud­bar, Man­jil, and Lushan, along with hun­dreds of vil­lages, killing about 37,000 peo­ple, the Xinhua News Agency re­ported.

An earth­quake in the south­east­ern city of Bam in De­cem­ber 2003 killed 26,000 peo­ple.

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