DEADLY QUAKE HITS
Residents huddle by a fire in an open area Monday after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake at Sarpol-eZahab in Iran’s Kermanshah province. Hundreds of people were killed and more than a thousand were injured when the earthquake shook the mountainous Iran-Iraq border, triggering landslides that were hindering rescue efforts, officials said. Residents and firefighters from Tehran joined other rescuers to dig through the rubble of buildings brought down by the powerful earthquake, which struck Sunday at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people were going to bed.
IRAN» Rescuers dug TEHRAN, with their bare hands Monday through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq, with nearly all the casualties occurring in an area rebuilt after their ruinous 1980s war.
Sunday night’s magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck about 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It hit at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people were going to bed.
The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpole-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.
Residents fled into the streets as the quake struck, without time to grab their possessions, as apartment complexes collapsed into
rubble. Outside walls of some complexes were sheared off by the quake, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted.
Residents dug frantically through wrecked buildings for survivors as they wailed. Firefighters from Tehran joined other rescuers in the desperate search, using dogs to inspect the rubble.
The hospital in Sarpol-eZahab was heavily damaged, and the army set up field hospitals, although many of the injured were moved to other cities, including Tehran.
The quake killed 430 people in Iran and injured 7,156, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Tuesday. Most of the injuries were minor with fewer than 1,000 still hospitalized, Iran’s crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.
The official death toll came from provincial forensic authorities based on death certificates issued. Some reports said unauthorized burials without certification could mean the death toll was actually higher.
In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535 others.
Relatives weep over the body of an earthquake victim in Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran on Monday. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake killed hundreds of people in Iraq and Iran.