Over 140 people have been killed in Iran and Iraq and over a thousand injured as a 7.3-earthquake hits border regions.
According to Kermanshah’s deputy governor, 129 people were killed in the province alone in the Sunday night quake, adding that the number of the injured people has exceeded 900.
Mojtaba Nikkerdar added that the exact numbers of casualties would not be available for several hours, noting, “There are still people under the rubble. We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will rise.”
The province has announced three days of mourning.
No reports on the number of casualties were immediately available from the Iraqi government.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter of the tremor was some 103 kilometers southeast of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, and 31 kilometers outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.
In Iraq, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan, 75 kilometers east of the city of Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, and in Iran Sarpol-e Zahab and Kermanshah was hit the hardest.
According to Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed, over 30 people were wounded in the town. “The situation there is very critical,” he added.
According to reports, the quake and its aftershocks have been felt in many Iranian provinces, including Kordestan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Khuzestan, Hamedan, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Lorestan, Tehran, Qazvin, Zanjan and Qom.
A number of aftershocks, including two 4.9- and 4-magnitude ones, followed the seismic, which hit near Iraq’s border with Iran’s western Kermanshah province.
The quake has been also felt in other regional countries such as Turkey, Kuwait, Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain.
According to National Disaster Management Organization of Iran, power cuts and disruption of the internet service have been reported in Kermanshah province while houses in some western Iranian villages have been damaged to various degrees.
More to appear shortly…